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February 11, 2013

Comedian Sarah Silverman’s Sister And Niece Arrested At Western Wall

KotelTen more women have reportedly been arrested at the Kotel (Western Wall) – including comedian Sarah Silverman’s sister and niece, Rabbi Susan Silverman and her daughter 17-year-old Hallel Silverman-Abromowitz.

Kotel
The Kotel (Western Wall); the women's section is in the foreground.

Updated at 1:10 pm CST

Sarah Silverman’s Sister And Niece Arrested At Western Wall
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
 
Ten more women have been arrested at the Kotel (Western Wall) – including comedian Sarah Silverman’s sister and niece, Rabbi Susan Silverman and her daughter 17-year-old Hallel Silverman-Abromowitz – for wearing tallits (prayer shawls).

Silverman and her daughter were arrested as they walked through the security gate at the far edge of the outer Kotel plaza, the Jerusalem Post reports, as they were headed toward Robinson's arch – the government’s designated area for non-Orthodox and egalitarian prayer services.

The women had prayed peacefully at the Kotel itself at the monthly Rosh Hodesh (new month) Women of the Wall prayer service at the back of the Kotel's approved women's section, and were moving to Robinson’s Arch in order to read from a Torah scroll – an act the government forbids women to do at the Kotel proper.  As they walked through the security gate, police separated Silverman and her daughter from the rest of the women and arrested them.

In the various streams of Orthodoxy, tallits are generally worn only by men, although Jewish law allows women to wear them. In non-Orthodox Jewish movements, women are allowed to wear tallits and many choose to do so.

Israeli law and the practice at the Kotel has been tailored to accommodate haredim to the exclusion of the non-Orthodox movements and the left wing of Modern Orthodoxy.

Among the other women arrested today were Women of The Wall’s founder Anat Hoffman, its Executive Director Lesley Sachs, and rabbinical student Lior Nevo – who is eight-months-pregnant.

The women were joined at their service by a number of men who gathered on the men's side of the Kotel prayer area just on the other side of the fence from the women. Among them were six former IDF paratroopers who liberated the Kotel in the 1967 Six Day War. One of them, Dr. Yitzhak Yifat of Jerusalem, is one of the middle of the three soldiers in the iconic photograph of the Wall's liberation taken by David Rubinger, the JTA reported.

"It's unacceptable that the police are stopping women from wearing tallitot, it's like Iran. I can't believe they are stopping people from praying one way or another," Ilon Bar-Tov, one of the paratroopers, told the Post.

About 150 women attended Women of the Wall’s monthly service. Police allowed the prayers to go on even though their usual practice has been to arrest the women as they pray. However, police confiscated tallits from the women as they passed through the security checkpoint on the way into the Kotel, only the second time police have done this.

To get around this, the men smuggled tallits into the Kotel plaza for the women and surreptitiously passed them over the mechitzah, the fence separating the men’s prayer area from the women’s.

After the arrests, in support of the arrested women, Women of the Wall moved its Torah reading to the area immediately in front of the Old City's police station where the arrested women were being held.

Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby told the Post that the women were indeed arrested for wearing “male-style” tallits – black striped, blue striped or white on white striped tallits worn over the shoulders like a shawl.

Police allow women to wear the colorful tallits around the back of the neck and draped down the chest like large scarves. “The moment they put on the other [male tallit] its problematic,” Ben-Ruby said.

A 2003 High Court of Justice ruling bans women from wearing 'men's' tallits at the Kotel in order to curtail haredi violence. But the court made that ruling conditional on the government creating a suitable area at the Kotel for women and non-Orthodox groups to pray. That area had to be properly equipped and roughly equivalent to the main Kotel prayer areas.

The government failed to do this, however. It allows non-Orthodox and women's prayer at Robinson's Arch at the southernmost part of the Kotel far away from the main prayer areas. But that area is not set up for prayer services and is in no way equivalent or roughly equivalent to the main kotel prayer areas.

Women's activists and non-Orthodox groups contend that the High Court's ruling is void as a result.

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Wait a second - they are being imprisoned so that men will have to cook and clean for them, do their laundry, and other housekeeping chores? These women should be forced to marry, get pregnant, and prepare meals barefoot in the kitchen.

I've always supported the Orthodox position on this issue, but can no longer do it.
Sorry Rabbis, you've betrayed my trust too many times. It is way to hard for me not to see an alterior and nefarious motive in any action you take.

Fool me once - shame on you. Fool me twice - shame on me.

Regardless of Halachic issues, the frumma continue to turn large amounts of people away from Yiddishkeit due to their disgusting behavior (in this case creating the rules that allowed the women to be arrested).

The unwillingness to negotiate or compromise in any way is more representative of the Taliban rather than normative Judaism.

Where else but in Israel can a jew be arrested for wearing a tallit or not to mention reading from the torah as well? Oh wait, a women well nevermind. They need to know their place.

Israel: Capital of religious freedom for Jews.

More of the Women "Off" the Wall fruitcakes crawling out of the woodwork for their 15 minutes of fame before retreating for their next cycle of meshugas.

Right, because if I wanted to pick someone to protest against the Chareidim, someone who is not Orthodox but is respectful, traditional, and exemplifies good middos I'd pick Sarah Silverman.
Not!

Anyone who sticks it to the frumma has my full support. Go Silverman family!

This action by the Israeli government crosses the line for me. If they are going to arrest this type of person I'm not interested in renewing my Israeli bonds or donating to Israeli Charities. (Sorry JNF)

Non-frumma should make their voices heard. The Kotel is not a hareidi Disneyland.

"[...] someone who is not Orthodox but is respectful, traditional, and exemplifies good middos I'd pick Sarah Silverman.
Not!"

Sarah Silverman wasn't anywhere near the events described.

If moslems wanted to do a prayer service at the vatican, I would imagine they would be stopped. If evangelical christians wanted to hold a service somewhere on vatican grounds I imagine they would be stopped as well. If you wanted to have a hindu service at the kotel, that would be stopped too. That's how religions work. Whoever controls religious sites gets to say how you act around those sites, regardless of whether it seems fair or not. The rules of fairness and equality simply are not applied to almost any religious sites and few expect them to apply if they go against the tenants of the sect controlling the site. Most people talk of how important it is to be respectful of religious sites by following the religious rules and customs of those places.

Shalom-You are right. But where is it written that the frumma get to control the Kotel?

Koyaanisqatsi.

Another example of the world going mad.

Let the women wear what they want, where they want, when they want.

Imagine if the women visiting the kotel started dressing like men, and with fake beards. They guards would also have to do gender checks, and who knows what that may expose.

Shalom
Right on.

Shalom, you have obviously never been to the Vatican, and you are ignorant of what goes on there. It is a surprisingly liberal place as far as religious expression of all kinds that goes on in the piazza in front of St. Peter's.

Woolsilkcotton, I have been to the vatican, and I have never heard of a muslim prayer service there. In fact, here is how the vatican responded to muslim requests to pray at a cathedral in Spain

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_campaign_at_C%C3%B3rdoba_Cathedral#Current_Muslim_campaign

Normpress, these women of the wall are a new phenomenon. By breaking with two thousand years of Jewish tradition, as well as the last 50 years of Jewish custom and etiquette established for the kotel, there are obviously going to be serious problems created if anyone tries to break with what has been practiced until now

A 2003 High Court of Justice ruling bans women from wearing 'men's' tallits at the Kotel in order to curtail haredi violence.

Really? Was that part of the ruling? I don't remember that being part of the ruling. I'd like a copy of the ruling that decides that Haredim are like animals and do not have free will nor are capable of being trained to be a non-violent, functioning part of a democratic society. :)

I was never on the side of the chair throwers; I alsways supported the right of the women of the wall and admired their devotion. But the Hight Court found a legal dispensation to not address their rights and equalities, and my only support for them now is if they sechew the High Court and its rulings as corrupt and undemocratic. It's nice that they're involving foreigners in the struggle; not like they can ever get the insanity that reigns free here.

I hope next time it's respected Reform or Conservative rabbis with kippot or tallits getting arrested on the Temple Mount. That will be progress.

The emperor is naked.

Shalom, you are a liar. You have never even visited Italy. Spare me the bullshit.
In the Piazza you see just about any religious event.
Inside St. Peters Basilica is another story, but even there the dress code isnt enforced very strongly. Plenty of women are sleeveless and wear shorts.
The frumma have commandeered the Kotel. Non-orthodox Jews want to pray there as they see fit. The frumma are still in the Medieval mindset. The Kotel is an open area. When donations to Israel dry up, the policy will change.
And since when does the word 'etiquette' apply with anything frum?

Yeah, there is a terrible lack of leadership among the Hilonim in Israel. They can't even go and pray at holy sites without sucumbing to the demands of the Orthodox weidie beardies. It's time Israel got its first Hiloni chief rabbi.

Shalom, your example doesn't work because you're saying that if another religion wanted to pray at the Vatican they'd have a problem. The WoW's are Jewish so it doesn't apply.
A better way to say it is "If a bunch of gay Catholics wanted to openly have a Pride program at the Vatican and call it genuine Catholicism they'd be stopped"

Plessy v Fergusen finally meets the frum world. Timing is about right, about a century plus behind.

When will my leaders finally realize that they are making themselves irrelevant? Education, shidduchim, high loss rates for youth, wholesale scamming and fraud, and the front line issues are women wearing talisim? Really? Don't step in the leadership!

Shalom

Can you tell me where in the Torah women are forbidden (not exempt) from wearing Talisim or even tefilin in their own gatherings? Come up with something and make it worthy of national attention of Orthodox leaders. I am holding my breath.

@WSC, I have been to the Vatican, I went there when I was around 18 years old with my parents. And you make my point when you say that inside the Basilica is a different story. The bottom line is, there are rules that religions set on sites that are holy to them and everyone is expected to follow them. Maybe the vtaicans rules arent as strict in some ways, but that doesnt matter. There are very strict rules and regulations that go with visiting the vatican as there are with many religious sites.
In terms of comandeering the kotel, the bottom line is, the kotel has been run this way this it was first repatriated and the people accepted it, and now any changes to it, whether more strict or more lenient will meet heavy opposition

@ Garnel, I mentioned the scenario of Evangelical Christians holding a service in the vatican, which I think could be comparable in difference to a Refrom Jewish service with women reading the torah being held at the Western Wall

Shalom, are you implying that Jews wouldn't make a huge stink and cry anti-semitism if they were visiting Italy, say, and wanted to pray near a church and were told they'd be arrested if they did? lol. That's bullshit and you know it!

@rebeljew, If you are looking for a direct quote from the bible forbidding this, there is none, but Jewish law is much more than just the bible. If you are looking for actual halachos forbidding it, just off the top of my mind I know the Ben Ish Chai ruled over a century ago that although women are allowed to wear tzitzis, because they are not accustomed to in these times, they should not wear them because it is a garment associated with men, and its not proper for them to wear them. I believe one could say the same thing goes if it would be appropriate for a man to wear a dress just because some biblical figures may have worn dresses type garments at one time. The same things goes for tefilin. I even read recently to my dissappointment that the whole story of Rashi's daughters wearing tefillin may have beeen made up. If there is something that women have not done customarily for centuries, if ever, in Jewish life, then it is considered going against the religious traditions when they do so. The point is, even when something isn't outright forbidden, following customs and appropriate etiquette is required in religious locations around the world and it is no different at the Western Wall. If they want to challenge the Orthodox Jewish customs that are currently expected at the Western Wall, and introduce new practices, they of course may try to make a change, but they will offend numerous people in doing so and most people will see them as troublemakers disrespecting the sanctity of the location, not as heroes

Shalom, you make the following point:
"
If you wanted to have a hindu service at the kotel, that would be stopped too.
"
I agree with you. This is because hinduism should not have claim to Jewish holy sites. However, the same goes for all other foreign religions, one of which happen to be Haredism. If Hindus can not make their rites next to Kotel, why does Israeli government allows pagan cultish Haredim to appropriate Jewish holy site?

@Dov, Your comparison is faulty. This is the holiest site in all of Judaism. I believe that if a group of Jews tried to have a minyan or read the torah in St. peters Basilica that they would very likely be told to leave, and if they refused to they would be forcibly removed from the Vatican.

Actually, if a group of Jews tried to have a minyan inside St. Peters Basilica, the church would probably be overjoyed.
If a group of Jews tried to daven in the Piazza in front of St. Peters, there would be no problem whatsoever.

Exactly when did God decide that He only likes orthodox haredi Judaism, and He dislikes every other type of Judaism and all other religions? Seems like it was the frumma who decided that God prefers them. God must be angry at billions of people.

I believe that God despises the frumma. They are the embodiment of the term 'Chilul Hashem' in all that they do.

And where exactly is the agreement from about 1967 that the frumma are in charge at the Kotel, and that all other types of Jews are to be treated as second class citizens? Did the government agree to allow the frumma to throw chairs at women who try to daven in talis and tefillin?

Shalom, haredim are a foreign cult which by cunning and force took over the holiest Jewish site.

Don't you think it is right for the Jewish people to reclaim their holiest site from those barbarians?

Shalom
You do realize women do wear shawls which could pass for a talit garment by orthodox standards, right?
That was not as common during the lifetime of the Ben Ish Hai, so that prohibition should not necessarily apply any longer

WSC what I think we can both agree on is the vatican would not be okay with a hindu service in St. Peters.
While there are insane things that come out of the frum world as this website testifies to, there is also a very balanced, well educated stream of Orthodox Jews who are just as appaulled as you are with what is going on.

I think almost everyone, including most in the Orthodox world are angered when they hear about chairs being thrown. But however you want to look at it, when the kotel was liberated, the final agreement, even if only tacitly implied, was that the wall would be run in accordance with strict standards of Jewish law. That status quo has not been challenged for decades, so now that people are trying to change things they can expect problems. If the more Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism wanted to avoid this, they should have put up a fight at the way beginning. Now years later they are seen as disrespectful troublemakers. If they wanted to try to change things, they should do it legally through the courts or by putting the matter on the ballot. I think they only hurt their cause with the avenue they've taken

"...the wall would be run in accordance with strict standards of Jewish law..."

And as the Haredim become crazier and more strict and ever more arrogant should the rest of us be expected to toe their line? They get to change the rules of the game day by day and the result is the arrest of Jewish female worshippers at the Western Wall for wearing a Tallit a certain way? Arrested? As in: like criminals?

Israel is the place in the non-Muslim world where a Jew is least free to practice Judaism according to the dictates of his/her conscience. Nowhere else are there such restrictions, such exclusions, such total meshugaas. It's outrageous and infuriating.

Israel is the place in the non-Muslim world where a Jew is least free to practice Judaism according to the dictates of his/her conscience. Nowhere else are there such restrictions, such exclusions, such total meshugaas. It's outrageous and infuriating.

Israel is a place in the non-Muslim world?

Shalom, I agree with a lot of your 6:51 post.

"...even if only tacitly implied..." is a problem because with the frumma, once you give them an inch they take everything because they are convinced that they are 100% right and everyone else is 100% wrong, and it's either the frumma way or the highway.

Nonortho Jews are fed up with trying to 'negotiate' or otherwise trying to have any 'dialogue' or 'understanding' when dealing with the frumma, and so they fight the obnoxious tactics of the frumma with their own tactics which can be seen as maybe too much chutzpah at times.

The religious world (that I remember) from 1967 is not the same as today. More and more and more fanaticism and extremism today and getting worse by the minute.
Normal civilized Jews, either of the intelligent orthodox you mentioned, or the conservative and reform movements, do not want to get entangled with endless fights, arguments, and having hot-headed frumma wagging their finger in your face while screaming at you and spitting.
And so they capitulated to the frumma in so many things that the frumma now have control, such as kashrus supervision, marriage, conversions, who runs the Kotel, etc.
Unlike the frumma, the rest of us have to wake up early and go to work the next day, and we just can't have endless screaming matches all day with them.

Shalom
Good going!
חזק וברוך

Are you a Adv.?

Next time they should wear a Tallis with one of the Tzitzis strings removed. Then if they get in trouble it's purely a dress code issue - without all the Tzitzios it's not really a Tallis - would that hold up? I'd love to see the halocha roulette wheel spin on that one...

Is a woman wearing a Tallis publically (being oyver a psack of the Ben Ish Chai) more chamur than a healthy man publically sitting down during Kaddish (Maharit) or Kedusha (Chazal)? Or not answering Amein to a Brocha? Or how about publically wearing a four cornered beged WITHOUT Tzitzis at the Koisel (D'Oraisa)??? Why target one over the other? Where is the balance? Where is the truth? Where is the Eibishter???

Shalom, in addition to everything everyone else (especially WoolSilkCotton) is saying, I'd like to throw this in:

If evangelical christians wanted to hold a service somewhere on vatican grounds I imagine they would be stopped as well.

I really don't think that is the case, but even if it is, they would be welcomed with open arms at the Kotel by their Haredi friends, who have for some time been the beneficiaries of evangelical money and political influence. The Haredim care FAR more for evangelicals than they do for frei yidden. The evangelicals validate the claims of the frum to be the only representatives of authentic Judaism - and the frum can't get enough of it. Their real religion is conservatism; why allow a small matter like Jesus to come between friends?

The hypocrisy is staggering - but it always is with them.

WSC, history shows that it may take a while, but the universe always has a way of balancing itself out, and I believe that fairness and sanity will one day hopefully very soon prevail in Israel. If God sees injustice occurring, He has many agents available to carry out His will and set things right.

WSC
A doctor can prescribe medication to calm your neves a bit. You owe it to yourself.

Hi Jake, I'm not familiar with the term "Adv."

RoleyPoleyYoiley, I think in many cases, whether it makes sense or not, people judge some prohibitions in the torah much more severely than others. If a Jew were to drive to an orthodox shul, many Orthodox Jews today wouldn't really be surprised by this and wouldn't even comment on it, but if a woman were to put on a tallis in an orthodox shul, many would be shocked and object, even though mechalel shabbos is one of the most serious transgressions in torah law. Same principle applies to the kotel.

Shalom says, Ben Ish Chai ruled over a century ago that although women are allowed to wear tzitzis, because they are not accustomed to in these times, they should not wear them because it is a garment associated with men, and its not proper for them to wear them. I believe one could say the same thing goes if it would be appropriate for a man to wear a dress just because some biblical figures may have worn dresses type garments at one time

So it was ok for men to wear a dress in biblical times, but not now because some Reb said so. Please show me in Torah or Talmud or anywhere God's timeline for clothing. An example would be, "And the Lord sayeth that after the year 5600, no man should wear a dress..." And then I want a definition of men's and women's clothing from the same source. While you're at it, show me the relevant passages that women can't wear kipot or tallit. For an encore, show me the passages about moral and immoral clothing, not to mention moral and immoral music.

The fact is that male rabbis make up their own rules as it suits them.

the story just ran on CNN .

If a Jew is also a Scotsman, can he wear a kilt?

If a frum Jew from Scotland got arrested for fraud, is he automatically innocent, because of the No True Scotsman fallacy?

WSC - I know you're trying to be sarcastic, but that is really an excellent question for the clowns in charge of the Wall. I'd go further and ask where the fringes should go - on the edge of the kilt? On the pocket/belt thingie? I also should point out that a good Scotsman wears no underwear beneath the kilt - so is that considered kosher at the Wall?
And are there kosher and non-kosher tartan patterns?

Sarek, it would be an interesting topic, since the kilt has a long history and tradition in Scotland, and the tartan patterns represent families (clans), and the tartan you wear says a lot about your 'yichus', and we know how much the frumma love having yichus.

http://kiltmakers.co.uk/categories/scottish-clans

The kilt actually is a rectangular sheet of material, and so it would qualify for tzitzis? Surely, there are Jews in Scotland, and some participate in traditional events for which the kilt is worn.

What if such a Jew decided to visit the Wall, or show up in a haredi shul on Shabbos?

A kilt of the proper size and length, wrapped the correct way, should not expose the genitalia.

There's a video on BBC's Middle East page about this now.

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