By Leah Aharoni, co-founder of Women For the Wall.
Shira Pruce, PR Director of Women of the Wall, has realized that Women FOR the Wall have changed the dialogue about the Kotel. So she has been creating new PR spins, accusing Women FOR the Wall of inciting violence. In fact, she has been spinning so hard, she has become dizzy, confusing reality with fiction and the past with the present.
In her most audacious attempt at spin yet, she claims that there has been a rise in violence since W4W in her words, began “inciting the haredi community against us.” In her dizziness, she must have forgotten that for the past decade her group has been crying foul over violence towards it.
Strangely, she overlooks what even reporter Shmuel Rosner and Ynet noticed and photographed: Ronit Peskin and me telling charedi boys to leave WOW alone, standing our ground defending the same women whose actions we oppose. Video coverage from last week shows Jenni Menashe, another W4W member doing the same. And of course Pruce conveniently ignores the rounds we made on charedi and National Religious radio stations calling on the community to desist from any violence and to behave with derech eretz.
The real rise in threats has been on the lives of the Chief Rabbis, charedi Knesset members, and the Rabbi of the Wall. Yet WOW conveniently washed their hands off any responsibility and, in a classic victimhood spin, even tried to manipulate the story to imply they were being framed.
It must be that Pruce wants you to believe that the 50 rowdy students in May were an entirely new phenomenon, caused by W4W. The only problem with this claim is that it basically contradicts everything Women of the Wall have been claiming for the past decade (long before we set up W4W two months ago).
In Women of the Wall, Chesler and Haut write that “from the first, [the Women of the Wall] were met with violence.” That book, published in 2002, refers to violence 78 times, and “violent” attacks, responses, aggression, charedim and whatever else, a total of 20 more.
Nor have things changed since then, even in releases from Pruce’s own office just a few months ago. Press Release, February 25, 2013: “Women of the Wall to Sharansky: ‘The way to prevent violence at the Western Wall is stop the violent bullies.’” March 10′s release says that Anat Hoffman called upon police: “to protect Women of the Wall from violence.”
Pruce would now have you believe that none of that ever happened. Today’s truth is that Women for the Wall brought “two months of violence and threats,” rather than two months in which our sincere efforts towards dialogue have been met with scorn, mockery, and character assassination.
This is of a piece with what we’ve always said about Women of the Wall and the stories they tell the media. The “blatant vilification” to which Pruce refers is our penchant for quoting them accurately when they contradict themselves. One WOW board member called the 10,000 women we brought to the Wall both “wonderful” and “a form of violence” within a span of just days.
Most importantly, WOW keeps feeding the world the line that they “simply want to pray according to their custom,” and have no desire to change anyone — while their leaders talk about turning the Wall into a national monument, inciting a revolution, and showing women like ourselves how to change and be more like them. They adjust their story to meet their PR needs of the moment, and hope that you forgot what they wrote last month, last week, or even yesterday.
Est past nisht, Shira Pruce. Then again, maybe you just need a break from all the spinning.
Lets face it – anyone who follows the Reform Movement must, by definition, be intellectually dishonest. Just a cursory look at their websites shows them to be manipulative and decietful.
The follow comment to my latest op-ed at Arutz-7 is very revealing.
While attending a Masa event last year for young American teachers teaching in Israel I had to sit and listen to Anat speak. I did not know her before the lecture so I had no opinions. My mind was a complete blank slate to all that she said. Not even half way through her talking I began to understand the type of person she was. She laughed and joked about how she did not care for WoW but how she was merely using it as a toy to get noticed by the public and to have some fun. – [email protected]
JasenButler, Rishon (14/6/13)
Who are the real thugs – the aftermath
This month, the Women of the Wall – perhaps better, Women off the Wall – enjoyed a hollow victory. Secluded by the police, the video cameras captured how genuinely devote they are. Many women spent their time tweeting and taking photos. Their generally disorderly behavior contrasts strongly with last month’s pictures of the religious young girls praying with sincerity and devotion. Did these women really come to pray or to tweet? The scene looked more like a market-place.
We need to thank the leaders of WoW for turning the spotlight on the Reform Movement and enabling us to see its real nature.
First, we must distinguish between the actions of the WoW group and the male individuals who became violent last month. They were acting against the instructions of the Rabbonim through misguided zealousness or perhaps just to have some ‘fun’.
In contrast, many leaders of Wow are official officers of the Reform Movement and are acting with their full approval. For 24 years they have been deliberately provoking those praying at the Wall
They have succeeded in showing that the Reform Movement is morally bankrupt, intellectually dishonest, manipulative and plain deceitful. One of the videos showed an interview with 3 young ladies studying at the Jerusalem theological college (even though one of their leaders declared that the Reform Movement has no theology) to become ‘rabbis’. Clearly, the girls are sincere. They should go to Neve Yerushalayim or Aish Hatorah women’s programs to get a taste of the real thing.
Interestingly, there were no significant comments attempting to refute any of the points I raised against the Reform Movement in my last article, or indeed in any of my other article on the WoW’s.
The WoW ladies claim that they need the mitzvos involving the male apparel to enhance their connection with G-d.
In reality, the feelings of ‘spiritual’ elation the women have when they engage in these practices are purely psychological.
Firstly because throughout the ages, apart form extremely rare exceptions, women have never sought spiritual enhancement through wearing tallis and tefillin, and never through making their own minyanim and reading from the Torah. This means that these are not acceptable ways that G-d wants women to use if they want to come closer to Him.
Throughout the ages, many pious and G-fearing women have sought ways to elevate their service to G-d, but never did they choose these means, Do the motley crowd, led by Feminists and members of the Reform Movement, many of them immodestly dressed, really believe that they are more righteous than our glorious ancestors?
Secondly, many of the women are not wearing their tallit and tefillin correctly. True, they are adorning themselves with these artifacts, but they are not doing so in such a way as to be performing any mitzvot. So how can wearing them that way be inspiring them to new levels of spiritual elation?
For 24 years they have been kidding themselves that they are doing mitzvot, that they have been reaching new levels of inspiration and coming closer to G-d and enhancing their prayers – and it has all been a joke.
Thirdly, many of the women are not covering their hair correctly and/or dressing according to the code of modesty and it is then forbidden for them and others to wear tefillin.
Furthermore, it is not they way of a modest Jewish woman to dance, pray and sing loudly in public and in a situation when men can see or hear her, it is forbidden.
Jonathan Rosenblum quotes the following incident. “Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, the preeminent Modern Orthodox thinker, made this point once to a woman who sought his permission to wear a tallit while praying. He told her she should first try wearing a four-cornered garment without the tzizit. She returned to Rabbi Soloveitchik after three-months and told him that her prayers had never been so inspired and exhilarating.
He pointed out that her exhilaration came from an act that had no halachic significance, and forbade her from wearing a tallit. Rabbi Soloveitchik’s point was that an emphasis on the subjective emotional experience reflects a pagan, not Jewish, approach to prayer. Jewish prayer takes place only within the context of the Divine command”.
In other words, all their so-called inspiration is a completely fake and has nothing to do with serving G-d.
Thank you, Anat. You and your friends have done a great job for us.
You and your group did a better job at discrediting your group than Women 4 the wall could have done with hundreds of articles and blogs. And you succeeded in doing what Arab terrorists failed to do. You prevented hundreds of men from praying at the Wall this Rosh Chodesh.
Probably, for next month, you will have learnt your lesson and you will teach all your ladies how to wear tallit and tefillin properly and you will get them to pray with their prayer books against their faces while rocking gently to-and-fro like the sem girls did last month. And you will ban tweeting and taking photos and you will tell all your ladies and girls to dress modestly – no low necks and short sleeves and short dresses. And you will tell them to cover their hair fully – not with just a kippa or a little piece of veil. And you will tell your group to leave with decorum – no singing or dancing – and with a suitably sad/serious expression their faces – they might need to practice in front of a mirror for a while until it looks convincing.
When she saw the WoW’s at the Wall, one little girl asked her grandmother, “Why are they dressed up for Purim?”
The WoW’s give us a “Purim Show“ once month and we are all looking forward to their next performance.