Rosh Chodesh and the Women of the Wall

A very humble Sisterhood member and friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) wrote the following paragraphs to broaden my understanding and appreciation of Rosh Chodesh, and I would like to share them with everyone:

“Rosh Chodesh celebrates the new moon, the first day of the month of the Hebrew calendar. This Rosh Chodesh Tevet coincides with the seventh day of Chanukah.

On Rosh Chodesh (as with Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavuot), we add a prayer to our tefillah asking God to remember and bless us. On Chanukah we add a prayer to our tefillah thanking God for the miracles of the season. On Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah and on the three pilgrimage festivals we sing hallel – songs and praise to God. We read from the Torah to learn from our traditions and sing the Mi Shebeirach for comfort and healing for those who are ill.

Rabbi Conover on Women of The Wall

On Rosh Chodesh, the new moon of the Jewish month of Av, I found myself in Jerusalem, in the plaza near the Kotel (the Western Wall of the Temple) surrounded by hundreds of people—and barricades.

I almost didn’t find myself there. When I first arrived at the Plaza, I was enveloped by a throng of curious Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) girls who tried to see what was happening as they approached the Kotel for their morning prayers. Still looking for a way in, I rounded the corner of the barricades and encountered a large, angry group of Haredi men, whose jeers rose louder and louder. But the sound of women praying in song rose above their taunts, and soon an Israeli soldier parted the barricades so that I could go inside.

The Day Anat was Arrested

After hearing Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg speak at the Sisterhood Annual Dinner, I wanted to learn more about the current status of Women of the Wall.

I contacted her and received a generous and interesting response. But as I was reading that email, I stopped short when she described a photograph she had included as “on the day Anat was arrested.” Reading further, she described the next photograph as “with Nofrat Frenkel, who was arrested for wearing a tallit.”

Arrested. For praying.

Sisterhood stands with Women of the Wall

Welcome to the first Temple Sholom Sisterhood Blog post!

Members of our Temple Sholom Sisterhood joined over 100 women and men to pray at a Rosh Chodesh service held at the Daley Center on May 10. The event was sponsored by Chicagoland Women of the Wall.

What a powerful experience it was to pray at a replica of the Western Wall right here in Chicago − particularly knowing that, just ten hours earlier in Jerusalem itself, women assembled to pray and were, for the first time, assisted rather than arrested by police.

Women of the Wall is a tremendous organization which has been holding prayer services and fighting for the right of Jewish women to worship at the Western Wall for decades. The recent court decision permitting women to pray at the Wall wearing tallit and tefillin marks the first step in a long journey to come.