Brain Bush’s Blog

Scuffles at the Wall

  • By : Brian Bush
  • May 10, 2013
  • 10:01 pm

Hi Friends!

There was quite the show of passion down at the Wailing Wall today!

Thousands of Ultra Orthodox men, women, and girls showed up by the bus loads to protest and try to prevent a group of liberal Jewish women, the so-called Women of the Wall, who come to the Wall to pray monthly.

This time was special, because recently Israel's High Court ruled that they can not be prevented from carrying out organized prayer at the Wall, despite the fact that they (untraditionally) lead prayer, wear ritual articles of clothing, and carry sacred texts when they (the women) assemble to pray.

All of this breaks with the traditional expression of Jewish worship, particularly here in Israel.

They have often been met with harassment in the past, and some of the group have been arrested by police for their action.

Judaism is a multi streamed religion in it's expression. This dispute is a lot to do with power struggles and a desire for social change within Israel.

Un-Orthodox Jews have traditionally had no significant rights of service (especially women) before the ancient stones that encompassed Herod's retaining wall to the Second Temple.

This is due largely because the Ultra Orthodox have had a religious monopoly on all things Jewish since the State began.

Even in the political sphere they wield significant power and are often seen as the 'king makers' in Israeli society.

But outside of Israel the Ultra Orthodox are a minority, and Reformed and Conservative Jews are the majority in the US, England, Canada and elsewhere in the West.

These groups often find the tradition, that has often been credited with holding the Jewish Diaspora together for millennia, as dragoman for today's modern society.

In Israel over the last two years there has been a serious push to level the playing field between the sexes, Jewish religious factions, and opportunities for all Jews.

Many Jews are tired of the old ways that breed inequality – both in politics and society in this relatively new nation within an ancient land.

Today's scuffles at Judaism's Holiest Place, monitored by well over 1000 police and soldiers, demonstrate that there may have to be a bit more patient and communication on the subject of freedom of expression and religious tolerance here in the Holy Land.

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

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