About two weeks ago, two bar mitzvahs and a bat mitzvah took place at the Robinson’s Arch section of the Kotel, which has been designated for egalitarian prayer services. Very sadly, a relatively large number of religious zealots attempted to interrupt and disrupt them in various ways, causing a massive Chilul HaShem and doing nothing productive other than causing additional hatred – this time, perhaps not baseless hatred – in the weeks leading up to our commemoration of the Destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. It’s sickening and represents the opposite of how the Torah expects us to behave, regardless of our opinions about the halachic validity of egalitarian prayer.
This unfortunate event offers an opportunity to discuss the ways that Orthodox Jews – who likely would not pray in an egalitarian davening – should relate to the new egalitarian section of the Kotel. In this week’s episode, Scott first speaks to Laura Ben-David, who was the photographer at one of the bar mitzvahs, to find out exactly what happened that day at the Kotel. Following that conversation, he talks to Rabbi Kenneth Brander and then Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein to find out their attitudes and feelings regarding the presence of an egalitarian section at the Kotel. Following the three interviews, Scott offers his own thoughts about the issue.
Please listen to and share this podcast, and let us know what you think on the Orthodox Conundrum Discussion Group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/432020081498108).
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Photo: Laura Ben-David
Music: “Happy Rock” by bensound.com