JERUSALEM (Feb. 3)
Hadassah’s leadership has come out in support of the Women of the Wall, whose petition to pray aloud at the Western Wall wearing prayer shawls was rejected by the Israeli Supreme Court last week.
The women’s Zionist organization called on the Israeli government to protect the rights of all women in all aspects of religious and secular life.
The call came in the form of an official resolution passed after heated and emotional discussion during the organization’s mid-winter conference here.
Seventeen Hadassah members who went to the Western Wall last week to pray were escorted away by police after some fervently Orthodox worshipers spat on them, threw stones and shouted epithets.
The Hadassah women had brought a Torah with them, and one woman wore a prayer shawl.
The incident occurred the day after the Supreme Court rejected the petition of the Women of the Wall, as the Israeli women’s group is known.
The Hadassah women said they had not known at the time of the court’s ruling, which upheld Orthodox regulations governing worship at the Western Wall that call for women to pray silently and without a Torah or prayer shawls.
Despite their not knowing about the ruling, the director of the Ministry of Religious Affairs said the women were in "contempt of court."
Since then, several of the Hadassah women’s group said the incident galvanized them to forge closer ties to Israeli women’s groups.
Hadassah "believes that every Jew has the right individually and collectively to pray openly and freely at the Kotel, the Western Wall," their resolution reads.
"We are saddened and disturbed by the actions of the Israel Supreme Court, which has affirmed the regulations aimed against the Women of the Wall.
"We are angered and disturbed by any abusive behavior directed at women who wish to pray at the Kotel. We call upon the government of Israel to protect the rights of all women to pray in their own way at the Kotel," the resolution reads.