Dr. Lisa Grant Reports from Jerusalem on : Rosh Chodesh Services with Women at the Wall

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dr. Lisa Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR/NY, writes:

“I got back a short while ago this morning from Rosh Chodesh Kislev services with the Women at the Wall.  In the pouring rain, we were well over 100 strong with strong representation from HUC; including Dean Naamah Kelman and her daughter Dafna; Professor Dalia Marx; Dr. Evie Rotstein, Director of the Leadership Institute for Congregational School Principals; me; and many students.  We gathered at the back of the Women's section at the Kotel, clustered tightly under umbrellas, and joined together in prayer while surrounded by a chorus of voices shouting out bitter epithets ranging from the rather mild “shame,” to the more shocking “die” and “you're the reason why the Intifada happened.”  We were not deterred by neither weather nor curses and managed to raise our voices together in prayer.  There were a number of police in our midst who mainly kept telling us to keep our tallitot under our coats.  When we finished Hallel, we began a slow walk out of the Ezrat Nashim towards Robinson's Arch for the Torah service.  On the way, we sang songs of faith and strength in support of our right to freely express ourselves as Jews in the Jewish state.  We were joined by a couple dozen men who walked with us in solidarity. Other men continued to shout at us and spit on us while the police looked on.  

I shared my umbrella with two young women who kept saying, “This is so sad. It just makes me want to cry.”  A sad statement indeed, that there were men (and some women) who found it more important to throw insults and slurs our way than to direct their hearts in their own prayer. On this seventh day of Hanukkah, we sang out for religious freedom and the right to pray peacefully and respectfully in this most holy of sites that belongs to the entire Jewish people.”

 


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu