New Translation Available of Decision on Women’s Rights at Kotel

The Rabbinical Assembly has made available an excellent translation of the recent controversial Israeli District Court ruling of Judge Moshe Sobel – affirming the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court – regarding the rights of women to engage in wrapping themselves in ritual garments and reading from the Torah at the Kotel.

The Rabbinical Assembly, the international umbrella organization for Conservative rabbis, commissioned the translation from Rabbi Avinoam Sharon, who is a prominent member of the Israeli bar, and has posted it on their website:

The decision rejects the notion that members of Women of the Wall were acting in disturbance of the peace or violating the sanctity of a holy place by conducting prayer services at the Western Wall. This new definitive translation should make this coming Tuesday’s [New York City] meeting between Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and American Jewish leaders quite timely.

Sharansky, tasked by PM Netanyahu with finding a solution to the tensions at the Wall (including arrests), was widely reported to have proffered a compromise at the last such meeting last month, where he proposed the Western Wall plaza be renovated and greatly expanded to include the Wall’s southern section – widely known as Robinson’s Arch – and that that area be designated for non-Orthodox prayer. Non-Orthodox streams generally welcomed the decision – as did Women of the Wall – while most Orthodox remained silent, a move that was also reported as tantamount to agreement or acquiescence. Since then, Sharansky has met with Israeli leaders to begin to draft new rules that would govern use of the new section, construction of which he declared could begin within one month.

But all that may well have been affected by the May court ruling, which now has some appearing to back away from the compromise.