Woman Arrested for Wearing Tallis at Kosel

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koselPolice and Kosel officials expelled a female prayer group from the Kosel area and arrested one of the women after they attempted this morning to lain from a Torah.

“We debated amongst ourselves whether or not to read from the Torah at the Kotel itself or to take the Torah to the Robinson’s Arch,” said Nofrat Frenkel, who was arrested and later released by police.

“In the end we decided that because nobody seemed to mind, we would go ahead and read the Torah at the Kotel.”

According to a compromise reached two decades ago under Supreme Court mediation, it was agreed that women who wished to wear taleisim and yarmulkas and hold krias haTorah would be allowed to do so at the Robinson’s Arch adjacent to the Kosel and not directly in front of the Kosel.

On every Rosh Chodesh,  the “Women of the Wall” group conduct “prayers” at the Kosel and at Robinson’s Arch. Today’s visit there was a contingent of women from North America who are in Israel to take part in a rabbinical ordination ceremony to take place at the Reform Movement’s Hebrew Union College.  Frenkel said that as the women unrolled the Sefer Torah and began to prepare to read, officials from the Kosel Foundation arrived and demanded that they leave the premises.

Frenkel said that the women agreed to roll up the Sefer Torah scroll and take it to the Robinson’s Arch. But on their way out, Frenkel, who was wearing a tallis and was carrying the Torah, was arrested by police.

“I was pushed into a nearby police station and transferred to the main police station at Shaar Yaffo,” she said.

About 40 women who attended the prayer formed a procession and followed the police and Frenkel through the Old City to the Shaar Yaffo where they congregated and sang songs until Frenkel was released.

Rabbi Felicia Sol of the post-denominational Bnei Jeshrun Synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, said that the attempt to read from the Torah was an experiment with “pushing the boundaries.”

“It is ridiculous that in a Jewish state that is supposedly democratic women cannot pray the way they want to and only one definition of Judaism is accepted,” said Sol.

“It is sad that many secular Israelis are distanced from Judaism because in Israel religion is seen as a negative, divisive force instead of being compelling and meaningful.”

Anat Hoffman, Chair of the Women of the Wall, said that the two-decade-old compromise that prevents women from reading from the Torah at the Kosel was outdated.

“Times have changed and women should be allowed to have a more central role in Jewish expression,” said Hoffman.

Rav Shmuel Rabinovitz, rov of the Kosel, said in response that the women’s actions were “a chillul hakodesh.”

“They brought dissent and infighting to a place that is supposed to symbolize achdus,” said Rabinovitz. “And that is a desecration. They behaved like Korach Va’adaso.”

Rav Rabinovitz added that the women were motivated by a political agenda and did not want to simply daven.

Frenkel, who belongs to a Conservative congregation in Israel, said that her sole intention was to pray to G-d. “We were not trying to cause a provocation,” said Frenkel. “I am not a political person. I come to pray and perform what is written in the Torah ‘Daber el Bnei Yisroel ve’omarta aleihem ve’asu lahem tzitzit al kanfei bigdeihem,‘” said Frenkel.

Yerushalayim Police said that they arrested a woman from after she put on a tallis while davening at the Kosel.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel/JPost}


  1. I appreciate the Moderators allowing FREE SPEECH but I question the validity of such a person who leaves a statement as #1 did. Especially because it changes the topic of conversation and if anything creates support for the apikorses at the wall. Ironically this is the opposite effect #1 wanted…


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