A week after Anat Hoffman joked that she was having trouble “taking yes for an answer.” Now, it looks like the answer may be no after all.
Tomorrow’s Women of the Wall service was supposed to be a victory party. A Jerusalem District Court judge ruled last month that members of the women’s group were not breaking the law by donning prayer shawls, singing or even reading from the Torah. Before the ruling, members had been arrested for breaking a law forbidding any deviation from “local custom.”
Facing no threat from police, the women planned to sing, put on their prayer shawls and even bring out the Torah scroll – something they hadn’t done in a decade. Now, that plan has been scrapped. Instead of celebrating, Women of the Wall is again on guard.
Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has asked Naftali Bennett, the religious services minister, to define exactly what “local custom” means. In a conversation with Hoffman, Bennett told her he could outlaw their service. As a goodwill gesture, Hoffman said the women wouldn’t read from the Torah.
But that wasn’t enough for some of the group’s opponents. According to Haaretz, haredi Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman has asked “thousands of girls” from haredi seminaries to protest Women of the Wall tomorrow morning.
It’s unclear what, if anything, will happen tomorrow. But one thing’s for sure: Hoffman hasn’t gotten her yes answer — at least not yet.