Gedolei Yisrael have called for a mass tefillah at the Kosel on Sunday morning, the second day of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, in the wake of the ongoing efforts of a small, controversial group of women who call themselves Nashot haKotel (Women of the Wall).
Nashot haKotel announced its prayer service for 7:00 a.m. Sunday, including the donning of talleisos and — for the first time — reading from a sefer Torah at the Kosel at the women’s section of the wall.
Two months ago, on Rosh Chodesh Iyar, some of the women were arrested after they donned talleisos during their monthly visit to the Kosel. They were later released and restraining orders were issued banning them from coming to the holy site. A Jerusalem District Court judge later ruled that the police had no right to issue such an order. He insisted that a previous High Court ruling that people who visit the site must follow the minhag hamakom, the custom of the place, did not preclude the women’s behavior because the “custom of the place” at the Kosel is not Orthodox, but “pluralistic-secularist.” This is despite the fact that there is a mechitzah at the Kosel and an overwhelming majority of the worshippers are religious Jews.
Last month, on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, when the Nashot HaKotel arrived to hold their services, they found that between 12,000 and 15,000 women had responded to a call by Gedolei Yisrael and had arrived from all over Eretz Yisrael. These ehrliche women filled up the entire women’s section of the Kosel. The Nashot HaKotel were unable to reach the Kosel itself and were forced instead to take a position on the edge of the plaza, where they were ringed by a heavy police presence.
Organizers were thrilled at the turnout but expressed deep dismay at the inappropriate conduct of a handful of young male protestors whose actions cast a shadow over what was otherwise broadly seen as a kiddush Hashem.
This month, the Gedolim have issued a call for older married men to come to the Kosel at Shacharis, 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, to express the great outrage and anguish that is felt over these offenses to the sanctity of the place.
This coming Motzoei Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, American women will have the opportunity to join the Women FOR the Wall, a group of women who are trying to preserve the sanctity of the Kosel, to recite Tehillim via teleconference. By request of the Gedolim in Eretz Yisrael, the start time at the Kosel has been moved up to 6:30 a.m. (Eretz Yisrael time), which is 11:30 p.m. Motzoei Shabbos, New York time.
As such, the teleconference will start be”H at 11:15 New York time with words of chizuk from Rebbitzen Tzipporah Harris, of the Jewish Women’s Project for Ahavas Yisrael. Rebbitzen Harris will speak on the topic: “The Women of the Diaspora’s Response to The Increasing Tension in Eretz Yisrael.”
The call-in information is: 11:15 p.m New York time — Motzoei Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, June 8. Call in: 559-726-1200 Access code 140203