Prohibition

Women’s prayer group denied right to read Torah in women’s section of Western Wall

Members of rights group 'Women of the Wall' succeed for the first time in smuggling a Torah scroll to the Western Wall on October 24, 2014 in Jerusalem. (Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

After a meeting with the heads of ultra-Orthodox haredi political parties, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reported to have agreed not to allow the Women of the Wall (WOW) prayer-rights group to read from a Torah in the women’s section of the Western Wall. WOW wants to be allowed to read from the Torah for monthly prayer services and to allow girls to have their Bat Mitzvah at the Western Wall. WOW won the right to pray at the Western Wall in accordance with their own practices in 2013, but have been prevented from reading the Torah by a regulation drafted by administrator of the Western Wall and the Holy Places, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, in 2010 that bans the use of private Torah scrolls at the Western Wall. Torah scrolls are available for use on site, but only for men.

The Center for Women’s Justice has filed a petition asking that Rabinowitz’s prohibition on private Torah scrolls be made void, and that Rabinowitz and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation pay approximately $40,000 in damages for denying access to the men’s scrolls. WOW say they intend to read from the Torah at the Western Wall, with or without public permission.

Read the full story at The Jerusalem Post.

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