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Women of the Wall

Lessons from Aunt Sophie

I often find myself thinking about how lucky I am to have spent my childhood surrounded by strong women; my mother, my aunts, and my grandmothers have all taught me that shattering the glass ceiling takes not only the force of a sledgehammer, but also the courage to face what lies beyond. As I, a once incredibly timid child, have grown into a strong Jewish woman, I’ve realized that this idea applies just as much in my religious life as it does in my secular one. 

Rehearsing For a Better World

YTheater is a program that Haberman co-founded in the hopes of finding a way for Israeli and Palestinian youth to work together and build a community. 

Can Jewish Pluralism Be Salvaged?

Every Thursday, the Jewish Standard, a community newspaper catered to the diverse North Jersey and Rockland County Jewish populations, is delivered to my house just in time for Shabbat. When I was younger, I used to look forward to its arrival. I would straighten out the pages and perch on the couch like the adults I saw on television, immersing myself in the cultural happenings of my local Jewish community. 

Politics, You, and a Cup of Cold Brew

Two great loves that I’ve discovered in high school are politics and coffee. These are two critical elements of who I am today, but one would think they rarely intersect. That’s what I thought too—until Stav Shaffir came along and gave Israeli politics a total caffeine jolt. Stav Shaffir is a young female member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament), a star to be sure. 

Deborah Brin

Deborah Brin, one of the first openly gay rabbis, led the first prayer service for Women of the Wall at the Conference for the Empowerment of Jewish Women in 1988.

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.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of the Wall." (Viewed on July 23, 2017) <https://jwa.org/tags/women-of-wall>.

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