Women For the Wall, the grassroots organization of women dedicated to preserving the traditional sanctity of the Western Wall, condemned on Sunday the Reform-led Women Of the Wall for announcing a "sit in" at the holy Kotel, or Western Wall.
“Jerusalem is not Selma, and this issue cannot be compared to the fight for civil rights in the US," said Ronit Peskin, co-founder of Women For the Wall.
Sunday evening, the Women Of the Wall declared a "sit-in" at the Holy Western Wall. Ten to twelve WoW members came to the Wall for the express purpose of engaging in this protest. WoW's carefully-angled photographs avoided showing that they were outnumbered over 25:1 by women who came to the Kotel simply in order to pray in the traditional fashion.
"By organizing a sit-in at the Kotel, Women of the Wall demonstrate what [WoW leader] Anat Hoffman has been saying for years – that WoW views the Kotel as an opportunity, and lacks reverence for the place held sacred by millions of Jews around the world," noted Leah Aharoni, co-founder of Women For the Wall. "They have failed to galvanize serious support for their radical agenda, intended to change the traditions of prayer that Jews have followed for millennia. This political protest shows that they do not understand what it means to respect the sanctity of the place."
"The Kotel is a holy site and a symbol of unity for Jews worldwide," added Peskin, "and it should not be used to promote the political agenda of any specific group. They should take their business to the Knesset where it belongs."
Women for the Wall called on leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements to reject this breach in the sanctity of the Kotel.
Peskin concluded that "The Kotel must transcend politics. We call on the leaders of the liberal Jewish community to condemn the use of the Kotel as a place of political theater."
Women For the Wall is a grassroots movement of Jewish women, dedicated to ensuring that the Western Wall can be a place for all Jews to come and pray with respect and dignity. It believes that only by preserving classical Jewish practice at the Wall can it be a place where all Jews are truly welcome.