When Judaism marries Feminism
American Rabbi Elyse Frishman Arrested at the Western Wall
New in the Website
Several years ago, I was preaching in my congregation about "Women in the Ministry of Jesus." The topic was unusual; thus I got the attention of everybody. After ending, I returned to my seat, next to Fidel. Ignoring the service, he turned towards me and asked several questions that related to Feminism; he was asking me about gender equality. I had the suspicion that his wife had asked him to interrogate me. His wife and four daughters were listening to us; his son was elsewhere. Answering his concerns was impossible during the service. Instead, I opted for a shortcut. "How many children do you have?" I asked.
Jewish feminists originated in the USA; thus, they were bound to make poor decisions while giving themselves titles in Israel. Part of the negative attitude towards them in Israel relates to this. For example, the abovementioned woman, calls herself "rabbi." Despite what English speakers think, the word "rabbi" is unrelated to "teach;" it is derived from "rav," which means "much." It is an honorific; if one calls somebody else "rabbi," he is saying "my-much," or in better English, "my superior." Moreover, it is a masculine noun. Any woman using it is bound to become a joke. In proper Hebrew, the feminine form is "rabbanit," as explained in The Jewish Fatherland and the Death of the Admorit. When an Israeli hears a woman calling herself "rabbi," he immediately recognizes an American Feminist who cannot speak the Old Language. Rabbi Elyse Frishman practically begged to be arrested.
"My God! How can you say this! You are a women-hater!" Feminists across the world might exclaim after reading the previous paragraph. Yet, the same women will probably take off their shoes while entering a Buddhist temple, or a Muslim mosque. Without further thinking, they will not accept the formal rites and customs of Christian and Jewish temples. They have a conceptual inconsistency.
The current event was cooked up over for a long period of time. There were three stages. At first, women were allowed to wear a tallit as long as it didn't look like a traditional one; thus, they used colorful clothes. Later on, regulations were changed; women were allowed to wear a tallit only as a scarf around their necks, in a feminine fashion. Last week, the regulations were made stricter, women were forbidden to enter the esplanade with a tallit or a siddur prayer book. The abovementioned women did exactly that and were arrested. They were detained for three hours and requested to sign a document stating that they would stay away from the Western Wall for 15 days. They were released with a warning that should they be detained at the Western Wall again, they will be fined NIS 3,000 (roughly $750) each.
Jerusalem police claim to be enforcing a Supreme Court decision from 2003. The High Court of Justice ruling issued by nine justices, led by Chief Justice Aharon Barak accepted the ruling written by Justice Mishael Cheshin, "I've considered this matter, I've turned it over again and again, and in the end I reached this conclusion: the right of women at the Western Wall is what allows them to worship at the Western Wall in the manner of their choice...but the right of the women petitioners to pray as they see fit at the Western Wall, like any legal right, is not absolute." In other words, they can pray there, but following traditional customs.
Rabbi Rabinowitz is responsible for the Western Wall; he claims "to be trapped between two sorts of extremism, that of the extremist Haredim and the fanaticism of the Women of the Wall." He added to the Hebrew media, "They don't come to worship, they come to demonstrate, every month they come and stir up a new provocation, so as to attract the media. They tried to bring in Torah scrolls, they deliberately sing loudly, and they do these things to create a fuss." The public prayers of the women show him to be right; Women of the Wall do not appear at the site if journalists are not there.
After stirring their unholy stew for a while, I finally found a sign of their Jewishness. Rabbi Rabinowitz defined them as conducting yet another Jewish War, that ancestral practice of attacking each other. A long time ago, I published Jewish Wars: “Terrorists in Black”, an article analyzing several such events. In one of them, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolfa (English spelling may vary) said that all members of Israeli security services that participate in operations against West Bank Jewish settlers are "Terrorists in Black." He added: "the terrorists in black – that’s how they were, covered in black clothes, with no identification marks, with no names, I don’t know if they were Jewish, Arabs, terrorists or somebody else… - if they come to fight me, I’ll fight back. This is not a sane police, this is not a sane army… there is nobody here to talk with. The special forces shoot in all directions as if we were Nazis." He continued an interesting tirade – defining Netanyahu as a "Tzorer," a "troublemaker" to the Jews - and attacking the Israeli Supreme Court. "Nowadays there are two persons in the world that fire on citizens: Gadafi and Barak," he summarized. He was referring to Ehud Barak, Israel's Minister of Defense.
Women of the Wall are not different from Rabbi Wolfa, and from many of the organizations related to Israel that I often review. Unable to respect others, they are engaged in an endless war against culture, traditions, other humans, and God. Rabbi Wolfa I agree with you: Israeli institutions are nothing but internationally criminal. Changing the color of your tallit or the way you wear it will not change that. May God reach you.
My articles on the web are my main income these days; please recognize my efforts by donating or buying a copy of The Cross of Bethlehem, or Back in Bethlehem.