A bit of light shines through all the heat in Phyllis Chesler’s Jan. 14 op-ed about the “Women of the Wall.” Ms. Chesler asserts that the women who flout the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision about where feminist services should take place near the Temple Mount are engaging in a “halachically acceptable” service, “not praying the way Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist Jews pray.”
Were I a Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist Jew, I would take deep offense at that statement. Why should a less traditional prayer service have less claim to the Kotel plaza than a “halachic” feminist one?
And there be the light. Either the Kotel Plaza is to be balkanized into a crazy-quilt of public prayer services (Jewish and otherwise – which was the point I made in my own op-ed, misrepresented by Ms. Chesler as contending that Jewish women “were trying to prayâ€¦” as “Buddhists or Taoists”) or it is to continue to function as a place of traditional Jewish prayer, as it has since 1967.
Catcalls and violence against other Jews are ugly and wrong. So, though, are provocation, fear-mongering, and name-calling. Let’s make this special, joyous Jewish month of Adar a time for regarding our wishes and differences with reason and logic, with only light, not heat.