Police detain women at Kotel over prayer shawls (JERUSALEM POST) By JEREMY SHARON 05/23/12)
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Three women from the Women of the Wall organization were briefly
detained by police Tuesday morning, the group said, for wearing
prayer shawls, or talitot, at the Western Wall plaza.
Jerusalem deputy police spokeswoman Shlomit Bajshi denied any
altercations at the Western Wall on Tuesday morning and said no women
were taken for questioning or arrested.
According to a 2001 law, it is illegal for women to perform religious
practices at holy sites traditionally done by men in Orthodox Jewish
practice, such as reading from a Torah scroll, wearing tephillin or a
prayer shawl, or blowing the shofar (ram’s horn).
Approximately 40 women from the Women of the Wall group, which
campaigns for equal rights at the Western Wall plaza, went to the
site Tuesday morning, the first day of the new month, to pray.
According to Sarit Horwitz, 26, one of the women stopped by the
police, a policewoman approached her during the group’s prayer
service and told her to adjust the talit she was wearing because she
was wearing it as a man does. A male officer then adjusted the talit
for her without her permission.
Upon exiting the plaza, three women, including Horwitz, were briefly
detained by the police who took their personal identification and
contact details, although they did not give a specific reason for the
The women were told that they would be contacted in order to present
themselves to the police for further investigation and questioning
because they had “offended the law.”
“It’s frightening to me that a woman wearing a talit is a criminal
threat to the state of Israel,” Horwitz told The Jerusalem Post. “I’m
leaving the country in a week and a half and I hope when I come back
Israel will be a more religiously tolerant and understanding place.”
Horwitz is a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary of
Conservative Judaism in New York and has been in Israel for a year,
studying at the Shechter Institute, a pluralistic Jewish studies
seminary, as part of her rabbinical studies course. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 05/23/12)
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