You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Women of the Wall

Rivka Haut, 1942 - 2014

I came to know Rivka over forty years ago, through the learned book that her husband, Rabbi Irwin Haut, wrote about the agunah problem. Whether she influenced him to write or whether his work inducted her into the world of agunah activism, I do not know, but she became increasingly passionate about helping agunot, hands on as well as dealing with the theoretical-halakhic issues.

Judith Berlin Lieberman

As dean of the Shulamith School for Girls, Judith Berlin Lieberman emphasized the importance of Jewish girls getting the same rigorous education in Judaic studies as boys did.

A Civil Sinai

When I became a Woman of the Wall, I became more fully Jewish.

I had been a rabbi for almost 20 years the day I was detained, with nine other women – including my seventeen-year-old daughter – by police for wearing a tallis and praying out loud at the kotel. We were singing the psalms of hallel when a young police officer waved for me to follow her out of the women’s section. I shook my head. She approached me, her hand outstretched. I reached for my daughter who is named for the prayers we sang – Hallel --and together we sat down. The police officer squatted in front of me and asked me to come with her.

Phyllis Chesler

In her controversial book, Women and Madness, Phyllis Chesler argued that the definitions of mental illness, created by men, are often used as a means of controlling and abusing women.

Discovering the Art of Prayer

Adults may scoff, and my friends may hypocritically mock me, but I can never deny that I would want to stand out in a crowd. Whether a college application, a creative thesis for school, or even the food that I bring for lunch, I want to discover a personal uniqueness that I carry so I can have some special pride in my stride. Luckily for me, I can already claim an artistic and spiritual individuality that I bring to the table as a female Jew.

Rosa Parks at the Wall

For as long as I can remember, Rosa Parks has been the star of every social studies lesson. In third grade, we learned about the nice lady who worked as a seamstress and boarded a bus to go home from work. In eighth grade, she was the strong woman who stood up for herself and played a significant role in the civil rights movement. In eleventh grade, we learned that her historic refusal to give up her seat was not random, but planned by civil rights leaders.

But the message of Rosa Parks goes beyond the classroom.

Women and Tallit

Why do some women wear Tallit? Why shouldn’t women wear Tallit? What’s the big deal?

If you’re like me, you probably haven’t spent a lot of time pondering these questions. As someone who falls somewhere outside of regular observance, a tallit, or prayer shawl, isn’t usually on the forefront of my thoughts.  (Even defining a tallit required a quick search of myjewishlearning.com.)

Last week I was lucky enough to join hundreds of Jewish educators at NewCAJE, a peer led conference that brings together educators from all walks of Jewish life. One of the highlights of my time at the conference was attending a session led by Ronni Ticker  entitled “Women of the Wall- What’s the Big Deal?”

I Am the Egg (Wo)Man: Reflections on Rosh Chodesh Av & Tisha B'Av

As a Reform Jew, I have long struggled with the meaning and ritual of Tisha B’Av. I have learned and studied over the years; this week at the Hartman Institute, we wrestled with the notions of and texts on communal mourning. I do not wish to see the Temple rebuilt speedily in my day, and so what do I do with this holiday?

A Woman's Place is at Prayer

Nearly 20 years ago I was living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a haven for observant Conservative Jews. I had my choice of multiple minyanim to attend; even the crowded weekend city streets had an air of the Sabbath, and kosher food abounded.

There were so many Conservative and egalitarian options that I rarely ventured into the neighborhood’s Orthodox community, and I certainly never attended an Orthodox synagogue.

Why is Women of the Wall Such a Hot Button?

When it comes to women’s religious expression, what is it that drives men to such distraction that they throw chairs, hurl insults, and resort to other forms of violence? Are we as women allowed to push the boundaries only so far?

On Sunday night, I went to hear Anat Hoffman—chairwoman of Women of the Wall and Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel—speak at Brandeis University’s Hadassah-Brandeis Institute.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of the Wall." (Viewed on December 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/women-of-wall>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs