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2016-06-17 digital edition
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June 17, 2016  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Orthodox service at egalitarian Western Wall section

(JTA) – In what is believed to be a first, Orthodox Jews temporarily took over the space at the Western Wall that has been designated for non-Orthodox prayer services.

A mechitzah – a physical divider separating men and women – was set up at the southern section of the Western Wall on June 14 for a service led by Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Haaretz reported. Amar is the former chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel.

“This is an intentional sabotage of relations between Israel and world Jewry,” Yizhar Hess, executive director of the Conservative movement in Israel, told Haaretz.

The Orthodox prayer service in the egalitarian area comes as liberal Jews are voicing frustration that plans for an expanded prayer space promised in January – and vehemently opposed by the Chief Rabbinate and numerous haredi Orthodox leaders – have yet to move forward.

Earlier this month, Amar said the new mixed-gender plaza at the Western Wall would constitute an “unforgivable wrong” that will “weaken Jerusalem” and the Jewish people.

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