By Daphne Rasehei – EMTV Online
For decades, gender equality advocates fought for equal rights over the Western Wall, a religious site valued by Jews all over the world.
In a historic moment on Sunday, the Israeli government announced that men and women would now be able to pray together in equality.
The announcement was seen as a victory for liberal and reform Jewish groups who had been campaigning for women’s inclusion in the men’s praying space.
Beforehand railing against the government, Women of the Wall has campaigned for equal prayer rights, holding monthly protests in the plaza in front of the wall’s ancient golden stones. The gatherings frequently ended in physical tussles and arrests.
(Image: 3 women being arressted for praying in the Western Wall)
“By approving this plan, the state acknowledges women’s full equality and autonomy at the Kotel, the Western Wall, and the imperative of freedom of choice in Judaism in Israel,” Women of the Wall spokeswoman Shira Pruce told The Guardian.
In the past, there has been a small section designated for women, but most religious rit’s took place at the men’s section as dictated by Israel’s ultra-Orthodox religious establishment.
(Image: The Western Wall)
Following rules governing worship, women were forbidden from observing many of the same practices as men, including reading aloud from the Torah, wearing tallit (prayer shawls) or singing. This is all about to change.
The landmark decision gives expression to a fundamental truth: there is more than one way to be Jewish. There is more than one way to pray. There is more than one way to connect to Jewish traditions and identity.
Israel to create Western Wall area for men and women to pray together