As if one group of fanatics at the Kotel isn’t enough–we’ve got two!
No, seriously, all respect due to the orthodoxy like which I wish I had the same discipline to all 613+ mitzvot, the Kotel authority has tried their damndest to push out women as well as lesser strict streams. But typically the Kotel authority is respectful enough to leave alone Reform and Conservative bnai mitzvot along Robinson’s park.
Kotel rabbi protests Conservative movement prayers
The Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, said on Monday that those who conduct services not in line with Orthodox customs should not pray anywhere along the length of the Jewish holy site.
Rabinowitz was referring particularly to Conservative and Reform customs where men and women have equal roles and pray together.
The movement has free access to the southern tip of the southern wall, which is known as Robinson’s Arch, for morning, Sabbath and holiday prayers. Non-Orthodox prayer sessions have been held for the past seven years at Robinson’s Arch, inside an archeological park at the southern tip of the wall.
“Whoever wants to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah, but does not want to do it according to Jewish custom, should go elsewhere,” said Rabinowitz. “It makes me sad that there are people who do not want to respect the Kotel (Western Wall) as a place of unity and togetherness for the entire Jewish people.”
The Conservative movement has slight liturgical changes in their prayers, but the main area of concern is its lack of gender separation.
“The Fund for the Traditions of the Kotel provides guides who can help families celebrate a Bar Mitzvah in accordance with tradition or put on tefillin (phylacteries) or read a Torah scroll,” said Rabinowitz. “Many Reform and Conservative families use our services.”
“Unity and togetherness.” Whatever.
Original story here.
[Late breaking update, 1:49 pm] Compromise reached on wall — “Mixed groups will be allowed to offer prayers daily until 10:30 a.m. on Friday evenings and holidays.” But this article raises another sticky matter — should you have to pay to pray?
Two years ago, an entrance fee of about $7 per person was charged by the Archaeological Gardens to those who came to pray after 8 a.m.