- Title: Kotel Women Praying 001
At the southern end of the Western Wall, Robinson's Arch along with a row of vaults once supported stairs ascending from the street to the Temple Mount. Because it does not come under the direct control of the Rabbi of the Wall or the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the site has been opened to religious groups that hold worship services that would not be approved by the Rabbi or the Ministry in the major men's and women's prayer areas against the Wall.
The need for such an area became apparent when in 1989, after repeated attacks by haredim, activists belonging to a group called Women of the Wall petitioned to secure the right of women to pray at the wall without restrictions. In a 2003 directive, Israel's Supreme Court disallowed any women from reading publicly from the Torah or wearing traditional prayer shawls at the plaza itself, but instructed the Israeli government to prepare the site of Robinson's Arch to host such events. The site was inaugurated in August 2004 and has since hosted services by Reform and Conservative groups, as well as services by the Women of the Wall. In May 2013 a judge ruled that the 2003 Israeli Supreme Court ruling prohibiting women from carrying a Torah or wearing prayer shawls had been misinterpreted and that Women of the Wall prayer gatherings at the wall should not be deemed as disturbing the public order.
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- Keywords: Praying, Women, Kotel
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