Responding to Absurdity
In the aftermath of Nofrat Frenkel’s arrest at the Western Wall (her crime? wearing a tallit), Lilith has heard from a lot from all of you, asking what you can do. So when this letter from Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson (of the Women’s Rabbinic Network) arrived, it was clear it needed to be passed on. This is a great way to take a stand.
The arrest of Nofrat Frenkel for wearing a tallit at the kotel on Rosh Hodesh Kislev compels us to raise our voices and engage our communities in joint action. We invite you to join in a community-wide Day of Solidarity and Support for Women of the Wall (WOW), to take place on Rosh Hodesh Tevet, Thursday December 17th, the sixth day of Chanukah. With this national grassroots initiative, we will express our support for the rights of the Women of the Wall to assemble at the Kotel and to pray there with dignity, in safety and in shared community.
As with many other women’s grass roots efforts, each community, organization and institution shall develop its own program of prayer or study and shall reach out as widely as possible to its constituencies. For some groups, this day of solidarity and support will be in the manner of WOW, including tefillah and the reading of the Torah. For others, the program may be a “lunch and learn” text study session; or a women’s Chanukah observance. For yet others, it might be a gathering of three or more friends in a living room or office who will dedicate their joint prayer and/or study to the Women of the Wall. Some communities may want to add to their programs a screening of Yael Katzir’s film, Praying in Her Own Voice. We ask that you convene a program that shows your support for this initiative.
Please share your plans and document your activities by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also ask that you send a photo of your gathering to Judith Sherman Asher, email@example.com, who is a member of Women of the Wall in Israel. Please caption the photo with the names of the participants, the date, location of, and information about your program. Feel free to add a short message of support for Women of the Wall. This will greatly strengthen the morale of our sisters in Israel.
We hope you will join in a groundswell of support of American women for the Women of the Wall. We encourage you to send this letter to any other women’s groups who might want to participate. As Rosh Hodesh Tevet takes place during the week of Chanukah, the holiday of religious freedom, what better time to affirm the right of women to raise their voices in prayer at the Wall!
Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson
Director, Women’s Rabbinic Network
Women’s Tefillah Network