AT LAST

04.26.13

A Western Wall for Two

Women can finally pray alongside their brothers at Jerusalem’s holiest site.

After years of protests and arrests, which ramped up in recent months, an Israeli court ruled yesterday that women can now worship in prayer shawls at the Western Wall. The Women of the Wall have been instrumental in this change, undergoing numerous arrests after breaking the rules on their monthly visits (the only days they were allowed entry to the main wall). Following the arrests of five women earlier this month, judge Moshe Sobel ruled that they had not violated local custom, and that the practice of praying separately from the men was a suggestion, not a requirement. The group’s chairwoman, Anat Hoffman, attributed the landmark decision to growing pressure from Jews abroad, many of whom are not Orthodox, with a “strong diaspora Jewish voice saying: This is unacceptable.”