W4W Decries Proposal for “National Monument”


Women For the Wall Decries Proposal for �National Monument� at Western Wall
�It is a Place of Prayer, not a Museum�

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL, April 25, 2013 — Women for the Wall, a new grassroots organization concerned with the sanctity of the Western Wall, calls upon Israeli Reform leader and activist Anat Hoffman, Chair of Women of the Wall, to withdraw her proposal to dismantle the place of worship at Jerusalem’s Western Wall and transform it into a �national monument.� Ronit Peskin, Director of Women for the Wall, stated �the Western Wall is a place of daily prayer and worship, not merely a relic of our past. It is not our Lincoln Memorial, but a sacred space for all Jews.�

In a speech in Florida last week, Hoffman unveiled a radical proposal to �allow� prayers only prior to 9 AM and after 3 PM, replacing the place of worship with �an open national monument� for the bulk of each day. Peskin asked, �what about the hundreds of thousands who come at all hours of the day and night to pray at the Wall � are they to be told that during these hours that they cannot have a sanctuary in which to pray?�

Under Hoffman’s direction, the Women of the Wall have spearheaded a campaign to impose changes in Jewish tradition at the ancient Holy Site. They have flouted rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court and accepted local practice, creating tensions at the Wall. In response, former refusenik and Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky laid out a compromise scenario, involving creation of a larger space at the Wall for non-traditional prayer. Hoffman first announced that she would accept the compromise, which has also been endorsed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but then outlined her much more radical vision during her Florida appearance. Peskin noted, �for years they have been saying they just want to pray, but now it seems their true intention is to transform the Wall and remove its religious significance. This calls their previous statements into serious question.�

Peskin requested of leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements, who have historically backed the Women of the Wall and their efforts to force change upon those who stream to the Wall daily for prayer, that they repudiate Hoffman�s latest proposal. She asked, �Could any religious leader tolerate the conversion of a vibrant place of prayer into a stagnant museum?�

Women for the Wall is a grassroots organization of women concerned for the sanctity of the Western Wall Holy Site, and objecting to the imposition of political struggles in a place of prayer. The Women for the Wall believe that while every spiritual quest should be respected, there must also be a recognition of shared traditions that date back thousands of years, to when the Holy Temple stood at that site � and that changes must happen via consensus through the Israeli legislative process, and not through loud protests designed to attract unwanted media attention upon those trying to pray in peace.