Neshama Carlebach at the Western Wall
Neshama Carlebach at the Western WallIdit Wagner

A group of women from the Women of the Wall movement came to the Western Wall on Wednesday morning for a prayer service marking the start of the Jewish month of Av. Several hundred Orthodox protesters were present to protest.

The women managed to enter with a Torah scroll, violating the site's code of conduct.

The service was attended by the daughter of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, Neshama Carlebach, who led a portion of the prayers. "Women of the Wall, you are an inspiration for our world and a shining star for our children. I express my solidarity with you and with this great revolution. May our joint prayer be heard, felt, and accepted in our broken and beautiful world."

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation protested the service: "As we still mourn the destruction of Jerusalem, today, the first of the month of Av, a small group of Women of the Wall and over 1,000 orthodox worshipers came.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation expresses deep pain for this group's provocation and the harsh remarks heard between the sides. These remarks are not proper anywhere, especially at the Western Wall. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation asks to keep controversy and protests away from the Western Wall and to keep the Western Wall as a unifying place."

Women of the Wall executive director Yochi Rappeport: "Tisha B'Av eve, we feel a need and an obligation to mention that the temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred. The time has come to stop the violence and incitement at the Western Wall against the Women of the Wall; the time has come for women to have the right to pray in their way at the Western Wall."