April 25, 2013, New York, NY — The Reform Movement is encouraged by the Jerusalem District Court’s ruling today that determined that recent detention of Women of the Wall members for their activities at the Western Wall was unjustified and for denying local police requests for restraining orders against the group.
“We were especially pleased to hear the judge state that the Law of Holy Places, which gives visitors to the Kotel the opportunity to pray according to ‘local custom,’ does not mandate that these be Orthodox customs,” said URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs, “We expect local authorities to respect the court’s decision and let non-Orthodox Jews pray at this holy site according to their own customs without fear of police detention or restraint.”
“Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) is optimistic about the court’s decision today to guarantee the right of women to worship freely at this most holy site,” said Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, WRJ Executive Director. “Having recently joined Women of the Wall for a Rosh Chodesh service, we were deeply troubled by the presence of police who were not there to protect, but rather to intimidate and detain. Jews all over the world recognize the significance of the Kotel and no one should have the power to disenfranchise others who pray differently than they do.”
“ARZA is encouraged that the lower court ruling has been upheld by the district court,” said Acting Executive Director of ARZA Barbara Kavadias. “We hope the local police find this sufficient not to carry this appeal any higher. We believe this ruling enhances Natan Sharansky’s proposal to provide for egalitarian prayer at an expanded Kotel site and look forward to the day when all people are free to pray at the Kotel according to their own customs.”