THE BLOG

Are You Really Ready to Give Up the Kotel?

12/02/2013 05:02 pm ET | Updated Feb 01, 2014

I suspect that many people are not aware that leaders of Judaism's Conservative and Reform movements, as well as Jewish Federations, are agreeing to allow the State of Israel, in a plan brokered by Natan Sharansky, to make it forbidden for women to pray as a group at the Kotel. As a "consolation prize" for their cooperation with the politicians, liberal Jews will have access to a renovated space at Robinson's Arch at which to pray. Most may not know that when members of the Israeli government and attendees at the recent GA in Jerusalem marched together to the Kotel; it was not the historic Kotel that they visited, but Robinson's Arch. This is not the historic site at which Jews have long prayed. If American Jews are not as willing as their leaders are to give over control of the Kotel to ultra-Orthodox Jews, I suggest they speak out before it is too late.

The organization Women of the Wall was founded 25 years ago to protect the rights of Jewish women to pray at the Kotel as a group, according to their customs: wearing prayer shawls, reading from the Torah. The organization had been offered Robinson's Arch as an alternative space years ago; it was not satisfactory. I suggest that those members of Women of the Wall who have been pressured recently to relinquish their presence at the Kotel should rename themselves Women of Robinson's Arch if they wish to continue to seek financial support for their work.

Ochs has been a Women of the Wall activist since its inception, and will remain at the Kotel, along with other original founders [oWow] of Women of Wall