Hundreds of Reform Jewish men and women read from the Torah at the Western Wall last week without hindrance, an unprecedented event.
Led by Noa Sattath, executive director of the NIF-supported Reform Movement’s Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the group carried five Torah scrolls and sang aloud as they walked on Thursday from an area reserved for egalitarian worship to the upper plaza just above the segregated area.
Their voices, singing “Lo isa goy el goy harev, lo ilmadu od milchama (Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore),” could be heard clearly in the men’s section at the Kotel.
“It was exciting to see how, when the ultra-Orthodox leadership does not interfere, prayers of different types can take place alongside each other and all worshipers respect one another, the Wall and Judaism,” Sattath told NIF. “This in our eyes is a model for a continuation of the struggle for the Kotel and Israeli society in general.”
The group, including women wearing tallitot, was stopped at the security entrance to the Wall plaza where guards told them they were not allowed to bring in the Torah scrolls. The Orthodox Western Wall Heritage Foundation that oversees the site requires that it provide Torah scrolls.
Leaders of the group told the guards they did not agree to the stipulation and continued to walk in. The guards did not stop them.
The prayer took place during the biennial conference of the World Union for Progressive Judaism in Jerusalem.
Photo credit: Facebook – Women of the Wall Nashot HaKotel