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Sunday, August 25, 2013

'Women of the Wall' to be moved to Robinson's arch?

Haaretz is reporting that new cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit (if the name sounds familiar, it should) will present a plan at Sunday's cabinet meeting that would move the 'Women of the Wall' out of the main prayer area and give them a separate spot near Robinson's arch. The plan should also sound familiar....
Mendelblit, who headed a committee tasked with ironing out details of the plan, including setting a timetable for implementation, is expected to propose a 400-square-meter space for egalitarian worship, with no rabbinical supervision, at Robinson’s Arch. There, women would be permitted to read from the Torah and wear prayer shawls.
Haaretz has learned that Mendelblit’s plan follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, Zvi Hauser, also a member of the current committee. Some years ago, Hauser suggested that the government set up space for egalitarian worship in the area known as the “Southern Wall” — an extension of the main prayer plaza that is separate from it and that is located in the same archaeological park housing Robinson’s Arch, a Herodian-era street and other archaeological artifacts. Today, the area of worship contains a small wooden platform built for the Women of the Wall roughly a decade ago, which the group said did not meet their demand to be allowed to worship freely at the Western Wall.
Mendelblit is expected to suggest that the area set aside for worship be expanded, that it be open for prayer 24 hours a day, and that an ark with Torah scrolls be placed there for use by non-Orthodox groups. His proposal differs from Sharansky’s, which suggested that the egalitarian worship area occupy most of the archaeological park and allow access to the stones of the Western Wall. Although Sharansky’s plan garnered praise, the archaeologists who run the site firmly opposed it, while others took issue with construction work at the sacred site. Mendelblit’s proposal, which involves only part of the area, gives non-Orthodox worshippers minimal access to the Western Wall stones.
The new plan sets a precedent — it provides government recognition for non-Orthodox movements within Judaism — but the major problem is its timing. The various sides in the dispute have already expressed their views on Sharansky’s plan. Most agreed to accept that plan even though it included physical changes to the entire Western Wall plaza — and this after the Jerusalem District Court ruled Women of the Wall could worship in the women’s section almost unimpeded.
Judge Sobel’s ruling has not been enforced in recent months because of ultra-Orthodox protests against Women of the Wall, but the women’s rights group is unlikely back down from its demand to worship in the women’s section now that the ruling has been handed down. Women of the Wall had expressed reservations about Sharansky’s plan, which is broader than the one Mendelblit is expected to unveil, meaning it probably won’t accept the Hauser-Mendelblit proposal either. The Reform Movement in Israel and the United States will almost certainly not accept it. It is not clear how the Conservative Movement, which for all practical purposes runs the Southern Wall area, will respond to the plan, which expands and improves the worship options in the area.
Read the whole thing. No, this plan won't be accepted. The whole point of 'Women of the Wall' is to be seen. This would put them out of sight of the worshipers at the Kotel Plaza.

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