Every month for Rosh Chodesh, the social advocacy group, Women of the Wall, meet at the Western Wall to pray. The group wants to change the status quo that is currently preventing women from being able to pray freely at the Wall. Since 1967 there has been a permanent mechitza dividing women from men at the Wall; In 2001, a law was created, stating that no religious ceremonies shall be held in the women’s section, including reading a Torah scroll, blowing a shofar or wearing tallitot or tefillin.
Early Tuesday morning on the first day of the new month, about 40 women from Women of the Wall went to pray at the sight. In the middle of the service, police came over and told some of the women in the group that they needed to change the way they were wearing their tallitot. Most obliged (pictured below) but later three women from the group were detained by police.
It is hard to process that acts of devotion like wearing tallitot or reading from the Torah can suddenly be considered criminal. It makes me sad that our Jewish community is so divided within itself that some have deemed that there is no room for multiple forms of religious expression, especially in a space so important to all denominations as the Wall.