Friday, May 10, 2013

Can't Wait for June 9th

What's so intriguing about Sunday, June 9th?

It's Rosh Chodesh.

The first day of the new Hebrew month of Tammuz

Another activity day for the Women of the Wall.   A report.


The legal basis up until last month for prohibiting the women from praying, or wearing tallitot or putting on tefillin or reading the Torah was that

in 1990, the Ministry of Religious Affairs intervened and put up a new decree (2(A1)) to the regulations of the Western Wall – “Within the holy places there will be no religious ceremony that is not in accordance to the traditions of the place, which hurts the feelings of the praying public towards the place”.

I wonder what  the "traditions of the place" or, more properly, "local custom", are for the Temple Mount?

For almost a thousand years, they were sacrifices by Jews.

Food for thought.

Consider how the Court viewed the matter.

Whereas in 1994,

Deputy Chief Justice Elon believed that notwithstanding the fact that the manner in which the Women of the Wall pray is not formally in opposition to Orthodox Jewish law, it conflicts with the matter of prayer in an Orthodox synagogue and as such, it is in opposition to local custom, because “‘local custom’ and the status quo are one and the same “ (HCJ I, p. 344). Justice S. Levin did not agree; he stated (on p. 357) as follows: “As I see it, the phrase ‘local custom’ should not necessarily be interpreted according to Jewish law or according to the status quo. The nature of a custom is that it changes according to the changing times, and [the phrase] should express a pluralistic and tolerant approach to the opinions and customs of others, subject to those reservations which I have already mentioned above.”

…Chief Justice Shamgar also recognized the right of the Women of the Wall to pray in the [Western] Wall plaza according to their custom, and their custom should not be viewed as offensive to the local custom. 

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Justice (Emeritus) Englard, who disagreed with the minority opinion in the Hoffman Additional Hearing, also noted that the statement by Justice S. Levin in Hoffman HCJ I with respect to the pluralistic – secular - national interpretation which should be given to the expression “local custom” is “the interpretive approach which has been accepted by this Court” (Hoffman Additional Hearing, pp. 333-335). The aforesaid interpretation of the expression “local custom” is sufficient reason to state that there is no reasonable suspicion that the Respondents violated the prohibition set forth in the Holy Sites Regulations, one of the necessary components of which is “the performance of a religious ceremony other than in accordance with local custom”


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