Prayer is Supposed to be Like This – Holiness at the Western Wall

by Avi Abelow

What a morning! Thousands of traditional Jews visit the Western Wall every day and pray. Orthodox, non-Orthodox and even secular. Every day visitors respect the accepted status of the Western Wall as a place of worship according to Torah law. Except for one, small, fringe group who call themselves the women of the wall.

We are one people, with one homeland and one Western Wall. While we do have different levels of religious observance, it is the world of traditional Judaism that has kept Judaism alive through thousands of years of exile and persecution. Women who decide who pray in ways that differ with tradition are welcome to do so, but not in a place that is accepted as a traditional place of worship as the Western Wall.

This is a place that is supposed to unify us, not divide us.  This morning I went to enjoy the special morning prayer service.

Approaching the Western Wall

Enjoying the Prayer Service

Women of the Wall

At the same time as our prayer service, the women of the wall were conducting their service against police orders. According to Israeli law as well, the Western Wall prayer space is supposed to be respected as an Orthodox place of worship.

They ectually ignored a police warning that they would be banned from the Western Wall in the future, if they conduct their prayer service today at the Wall.

The Majority of the Women

“The Western Wall is the spiritual home for thousands of women, to cherish its traditions,” said Leah Aharoni of Women FOR the Wall, a traditionalist organization.

Recap of the Morning

One Person asking random people what they think about the Women of the Wall


The Jewish people are the people of the book. We are still around today, surviving thousands of years of exile and persecution, because we continue to practice the same traditions. Generation after generation we follow the Torah laws that we learn from our “book”, the Torah. That is the secret to our success as a people.

Read more about the unnecessary conflict at the Western Wall.  Remember, the Western Wall is an age-old symbol of unity – not division.

In every generation, there are some Jews who try to change those traditions to fit their lifestyles or ideologies. However, in most cases throughout Jewish history, the children or grandchildren of those who stop following the traditional traditions, stop associating themselves with the Jewish people. Their offspring, no longer committed to the Jewish traditions of thousands of years, end up leaving the Jewish collective.

Stick to the Traditions

It is by following our “book”, keeping our thousand-year-old traditions, that we remain one people.  The Bible is the glue that keeps us surviving together as a people.

In every generation, there are some Jews who try to change our long-standing traditions. The women of the wall are such a group today. They have a full prerogative to pray as they want, and nobody will force them to pray differently. However, they should not choose an Orthodox prayer space, where for generations, the custom is to observe traditional Judaism.

Yet, every month, this small fringe group comes to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, an Orthodox prayer space. Instead of respecting the place and the traditional way of prayer, they bring their own method. Which is not acceptable in an Orthodox prayer space.

Click here for more information about the struggle to maintain the sanctity of the Western Wall.

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