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Women’s prayer group asked to leave Wall

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A women’s prayer group was asked to leave the Western Wall plaza.

The group of 100 women, wearing prayer shawls and kipot, on Wednesday morning was marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Women of the Wall organization, which organizes female prayer groups every month on Rosh Chodesh, Ynet reported.

The group sang out loud during the Hallel prayer, which violates the custom of the plaza.

Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that women can pray in groups at the wall, but that they may not hurt the feelings of other worshipers.

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch told Ynet that local custom at the Western Wall holds that women do not wear a prayer shawl or tefillin and do not read from the Torah. Singing out loud is also considered a provocation, since men are not permitted under Jewish law to hear women singing.

"The Western Wall is open to every woman to pray in her own way, as long as she does not breach the local custom, which is Jewish halachah," Rabinovitch said. "An attempt was made today to create a provocation, desecrate the site and hurt the feelings of men and women worshipers."

The women usually pray in an area near, but away from, the plaza, the rabbi said.
 

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