Shira Epstein writes, "Was it the “Kotel?” and answers, "No."
That is a failing, as a Rabbi, as a Jew. The "Kotel", the Wall, extends 485 meters or so, north-south, on the west of Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount. That "Wall" is but a retaining structure for what is really the literal height of sanctity and spirituality in Judaism, where the two temples stood, where priests and prophets practiced, where heroic men fought the Chaldeans, the Greeks, the Romans, in defense or revolt. The Kotel became important because we lost our political standing as a sovereign country and had to do with that small section (up until
19481967 it was very narrow and short, unlike today), where we couldn't bring benches or partitions and after the 1929 riots, the British banned even shofar blowing.
But today, the Kotel has but secondary importance and even thinking that the Wall that is in front of the massive Plaza, and that the area near Robinson's Arch, or the Little Wall near the Iron Gate or even the eastern wall, has any less sacredness or national consciousness importance is not being a Rabbi or educator, whether Reform, Conservative or evern Ultra-Orthodox.
at this Washington Post story, Girls go to the Western Wall.
Someone commented on my comment and I added:
Another UPDATEI do not believe there are any failings in Rabbi Shira's description of her students' experience. Whether the Kotel extends technically beyond the plaza is not the issue. The girls went, with kavanna (intent) to pray in a place they perceived as especially holy. They were treated in appropriately in a sacred space. This is the issue. All those who come to pray respectfully at the Wall, whether in the plaza or by Robinson's Arch, need to be treated with respect. Their prayers should not be thwarted. Thanks Shira, for bringing the perspective of the next generation to the table....to kbf:
I did not write about "failings in Rabbi Shira's description of her students' experience".
I wrote of a failing in her presentation of what is the Kotel, is it only the Plaza area, what is its true sanctity, its importance and what happens when only a section of it is sacralized or what are the ramifications.
In this case, without excusing in any way inappropriate behavior by those who were at the wall and wouldn't ease the girls' approach, although I would guess if they had gone to a rock concert it would have been difficult to reach the front of the stage too, the point I was making and which you seem to have completely missed, is that the Rabbi had a responsibility for broadening these girls' education and knowledge. And, unless she didn't write all she said there, she failed.
At at this story on the WOWsies (Women of the Wall), I left his comment:
hmmmm... will we see a FEMEN-like protest? will that also be promoted by interested anti-Orthodox parties, or, anti-traditionalists?
or, if we don't want to go that far, can we have some support for women - and even men - praying on the Temple Mount? Jewish men and women, that is? how far do liberals go with supporting other rebels and non-conformists against another religion's ritual or customs?