It was Rosh Chodesh Elul at the Kotel, the Western Wall,
and thanks to Women of the Wall (WOW) I went to see what was happening.
It is interesting that each month that I have gone has been so different.
Looking down at the Western Wall Plaza, it was hard to tell what was going on.
The area on the right was full with the Women of Wall supporters last month,
but WOW protested to police that they could not see the Kotel from that location.
This time they were facing the Western Wall, in a secured area in the back of the Plaza.
A security line was determined to keep protesters away from WOW
and not have a repeat of that dreadful episode in May.
Just mentioning that awful morning and the stench comes back.
There were far fewer protesters, I only saw one old man
and a few young men with whistles.
Women for the Wall arranged for thousands of religious girls and women
to fill the women’s section of the Western Wall.
So many busloads of girls came that they had to stand behind in the Plaza.
The number of men seemed to be fewer.
The same one woman with a whistle was back.
Seems she really believes that blowing that blasted thing will do some good.
So what was different this time?
WOW had microphones.
Police made sure that protesters throwing anything at WOW would have a hard time.
There seemed to be less international media coverage.
Most of the media was up close,
inside the secured area with WOW.
It was difficult to come and go even with a press pass.
There were fewer “young men” protesters,
but those who were there,
looked even younger than before,
and seemed to be looking for a confrontation with police.
This lone woman, not a member of Women for the Wall,
tried very hard to get the boys to stop blowing their whistles and go away.
they blew whistles loudly at her.
On Rosh Chodesh Elul they should have gone back to class,
I wondered who their educators could be?
one problem for women who want to pray at the Kotel
has been not being able to hear what is happening.
There is a loudspeaker system that is used for huge gatherings on holidays.
As it was last month, the loudpeaker was in use.
The women’s section was packed, women were quiet and
one could clearly hear and follow the service.
Such a simple thing took so long to happen.
As the girls finished praying and left the area,
I found a chair and a siddur, prayer book, and
got to hear the shofar blasts marking the month before
Rosh Hashanah, the New Year.
Thank you, Women of the Wall.