Four years ago, an agreement was made to formally recognize an egalitarian prayer section of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. However, this past Sunday, condemnations and recriminations erupted after there was an indefinite suspension of this agreement.
Song For Israel Board members, Deby Brown and Jeanette Johns met with several protestors on a busy street corner in Jerusalem, who displayed banners on the corners of the streets and smaller signs carried by individuals to raise awareness of their disappointment.
One woman (who did not want her picture taken nor her name mentioned) said that without this agreement implemented, it meant that when her son is old enough for his Bar Mitzvah that she will be unable to be part of the ceremony as it will occur only on the men’s portion of the Western Wall Plaza. To view this lifetime achievement of her son, she would have to stand on a plastic chair to peer over the barrier to watch. She reported that in the past year, ten women have been injured because the cheap chairs have fallen over as they tried to view a family members Bar Mitzvah.
Currently at the Western Wall Plaza, there is a men’s section and a women’s section and without the agreement being implemented, things will remain as they have been – divided. It continues to be gender separated, even though Orthodox customs are not defined in Israeli law. The Western Wall agreement would define the law and give a place for men and women (boys and girls) to be together in a designated area.