(Worthy News) – Activists and members of liberal streams of Judaism celebrated a ‘historic’ compromise officially allowing mixed-gender non-Orthodox Jewish prayer at the Western Wall Sunday, even as ultra-Orthodox and religious nationalist lawmakers came out strongly against the move.
Anat Hoffman, who has been at the center for the struggle for a space as head of the Women of the Wall group, which advocates for increased female prayer rights at the site, called the agreement “groundbreaking.”
“After years and years of insisting that we have an equal place for prayer, after enduring campaigns of abuse against us, and being encouraged by a wave of Jewish support from across the globe, we have accomplished this extraordinary first step,” Hoffman said in a statement released by the Reform Movement. [ Source ]
Western Wall prayer fight ends with historic compromise
Israel’s government has approved a compromise to expand the non-Orthodox Jewish prayer section of the Western Wall, putting to rest the decades-long fight between Women of the Wall and Israel’s ultra-Orthodox religious establishment.
Sunday’s deal achieves what had been an elusive goal: An interdenominational consensus on Judaism’s holiest prayer site, endorsed by the Israeli government. Under the deal, the non-Orthodox prayer section at the wall will become much larger and more accessible. But ultra-Orthodox — also called haredi — control of the Orthodox section will also be solidified, though non-Orthodox leaders have long protested that monopoly.
The deal, a copy of which JTA obtained ahead of the Cabinet vote, still contains a few unknowns. It is unclear how long construction will take. It does not say whether clear signage will direct visitors to the non-Orthodox section. Nor does it say exactly when Women of the Wall, an embattled women’s prayer group, will move its monthly services from the Orthodox Jewish main prayer section to the non-Orthodox one. [ Source ]