Women all over the world have access to Torah scrolls. It is only at the Kotel in Jerusalem that women are forbidden from holding the Torah, kissing the Torah and reading from the Torah.

There are 100 Torah scrolls for use by men at the Kotel and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz repeatedly REFUSES Women of the Wall’s requests for a Torah. He has also banned all ‘outside’ Torah scrolls from being brought into the Kotel. This catch 22 results in discriminatory practice that attempts to keep Torahs out of the hands of women in a public, holy space in Israel.

The Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site- and it belongs to all Jews. We demand equality: Torah for women at the Kotel now!




Tell Israel’s leaders that you stand with Women of the Wall and women’s right to read from a Torah scroll at the Western Wall! Below, you can write a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu asking him to all full freedom of religion for women at the Kotel. Click here to sign: http://womenofthewall.org.il/letmytorahgo/


March 30, 2014

Women of the Wall mourn the loss of our founder and sister, Rivkah Haut. Rivkah was the visionary who conceived the idea of the first women’s Torah service at the Kotel on December 1, 1988.  That day she organized women from Israel and abroad, from across the Jewish denominational spectrum to pray together at the Kotel, serving as the inspiration for the creation of Women of the Wall. Her legacy will live on in the continuing struggle for women’s rights to pray together and read Torah at the Kotel and in her dedicated work to help free the chains of agunot. May her memory always be a blessing

Standing with the Women of the Wall | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California.

KeshetDetails for the 9-Day WOW Tour of Israel to mark WOW’s 25th anniversary are online now! Explore Israel and deepen your understanding of historical, sociological, and political factors that place Women of the Wall at the forefront of the struggle for the soul of Judaism in the Jewish state. Oct. 28-Nov. 5. Visit Keshet now for more information about this exciting Israel tour.

BlogThumbnailBay Area Friends of Women of the Wall member, Marilyn Wacks was in Israel on her honeymoon in May and joined with Women of the Wall (WOW) Chairwoman Anat Hoffman, WOW leaders, Knesset members, and WOW supporters from across Israel and around the world for the historic Rosh Hodesh Sivan prayer service at the Kotel on May 10. Read her personal account of the experience:

May 10, 2013

Rosh Chodesh Sivan
Jerusalem, Israel

I have stood on the side lines of the issue of religious pluralism in Israel for a couple of years, after joining a group of SF Bay Area supporters of Israel’s Women of the Wall (WOW). From our comfy desks in the USA, we meet, discuss, donate, create websites and Facebook pages, safely and quietly following the hard work and deserving accomplishments of WOW’s leader, Anat Hoffman. This morning, I stepped from the curb and into the greIMG_2890at melting pot that is Jerusalem.

At 6:30am, women from all over Israel and a few international visitors like me, appeared from the dawn shadows in a dirt parking lot in the center of Jerusalem. Most were carrying small cloth bags. There, we boarded busses, introduced ourselves, made room, and created a warm camaraderie during our short journey to the Old City, just outside the location of the Western Wall ( Kotel). From the bus windows we could see masses of Orthodox men, women, girls, and boys, all rushing toward the Kotel. I was told that they bussed in hoards of people to protest our exercising the newly granted rights for women to wear Talitot and pray out loud at The Wall.

We descended upon the security screening lines in tight formation and proceeded through without incident, continuing on to the center of the Kotel plaza, where Anat and many more participants were waiting. There was a fence of police, separating the Haredi protesters from the WOW group and each of us had to peacefully negotiate our way between their arms and legs to join Anat. My first attempt failed but once I donned my Talit (no easy task in a crowd), I was allowed through the human barrier.

In my position near the center of the gathering, it was difficult to know what was going on outside the circle. I could hear what sounded like thousands of voices, whistles blowing, and angry words screamed in the lBlogThumbnail2anguage of my ancestors. I could see large groups of Yeshiva students, perched on balconies, steps, and walkways overlooking the Kotel, waiting and watching.

Just as the sun began to rise over the Western Wall, we, the Women (and men) of the Wall began to sing. Within seconds, the protesters jeered with attempts to drown us out. We sang a few hymns while Siddurs were passed out and then a rotating group of Chazen led us in the Rosh Chodesh and morning prayer service.

In that very tighIMG_2900t circle of strangers, we came together through our voices and our protection of each other to create a magical morning of inspiration. There was a Bat Mitzvah and a baby naming during the Torah service and we were able to create a Chuppah for them with a generously offered Talit from the woman standing next to me. It was an honor to stand on my tippy toes to hold a corner of that Talit above their heads.

The service proceeded without incident other than a constant, ear-shattering roar of angry voices, or so I thought. We prayed together for more than an hour and then Anat gave us a talk in Hebrew. Since my understanding of Hebrew is rudimentary at best, I dIMG_2909o not know what she said. When she finished, we were urged to take off our Talitot and to close ranks by holding hands as we walked together toward the busses. As soon as we passed the police barricade, I saw my husband Nathan, standing just behind a police woman. We smiled at each other and touched finger tips (our little love gesture), and the police woman let him through to walk with us out of the Kotel plaza.

We were walking together and singing, the crowd was jeering, and I could see an endless line of police lining the plaza walkway to the street. All along the sidelines and above, were insanely angry religious men, screaming, shaking their fists, and killing with their expressions.  I was never scared, just appalled by the extreme level of hatred oozing from so many supposedly pious men.

When we reached the street, there was a line of city busses, waiting to whisk us away from any daBlogThumbnail3nger. We did not know where the busses would take us, the organizers and police just told us to get on the bus as quickly as possible. We packed in like sardines and off we went, down the hill that was lined with more crowds of angry men and police.

There was a loud crash that sounded like a small explosion, and someone said that rocks were being thrown at the busses. We heard that a window was broken on one of the others. SBlogThumbnail4oon we were out of the Old City, off the bus, and back in among the regular goings on of everyday Jerusalem.

Nathan told me that while he was waiting for me, he heard an Orthodox woman say, “There are just twenty stupid women that want to change everything.” He also told me that religious men were throwing chairs, water, and excrement at the WOW during the prayer service. He did not know that I was praying very near Anat and the group of wonderfully talented Chazens, meaning that I was situated in a spot where there was a very high concentration of police protection.DSC_0430

Less than two weeks ago, Nathan and I were married on Lag B’Omer. We chose Lag B’Omer for our wedding day because it commemorates the day that G-d ended a plague that was given as a punishment for the hatred of Jew against Jew. Lag B’Omer is a day that represents our highly successful pluralistic relationship and the strong commitment we have made to use our differences to bring us closer to each other and to G-d.

Today Nathan and I were witness to a new, positive evolution of our ancient traditions. We also experienced history repeating itself yet again. Jew against Jew, does it ever end? This morning, thousands of religious men dished out their hatred to a few hundred women, who were simply doing the same thing that they do freely, every day. Rabbi Hillel said, “do not do unto others, what you do not wish done to you.”

Shabbat Shalom!

View Marilyn’s Videos Here.

We are very excited to be welcoming Anat Hoffman on her speaking tour of California this February 2-12, 2012. Her schedule is posted HERE for you, subject to minor changes, so you can make your plans to hear her speak at one of the venues. Please spread the word, so as many people as possible will get a chance to see her. Bring your daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, etc. She is NEVER boring! We are delighted that she is making the SF Bay Area one of her major stops.

Anat Hoffman, Chairwoman of Women of the Wall

Anat Hoffman, Chairwoman of Women of the Wall