JERUSALEM (JTA) – In its first service following its 25th anniversary ceremony, Women of the Wall prayed with little interference from protesters.
The group, which meets for a prayer service in the women’s section of the Western Wall at the beginning of each Jewish month, drew about 100 women on Wednesday. At its 25th anniversary service last month, Women of the Wall drew more than 800 worshippers
Western Wall regulations prohibit Women of the Wall from bringing a Torah scroll into the women’s section; to protest the prohibition, members of the group took turns holding a Torah scroll at the entrance to the Western Wall Plaza Wednesday.
Thousands of Orthodox girls had turned out in past months to demonstrate against the group and block it from the women’s section. But the girls were absent Wednesday at the request of Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who asked Women of the Wall and protesters to refrain from confrontation during Hanukkah.
A handful of haredi Orthodox men did protest, however, screaming and blowing whistles as the women prayed. One haredi protester who has come to disrupt several previous Women of the Wall services was detained briefly by police. Haredi protesters shouted “Nazis” at the police as they detained the man.
Later in the service, police also detained a woman who confronted the haredi protesters.