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There is much talk about creating an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel (Western wall) and how this is a victory for the Women of the Wall. But even putting aside the issue of the location and what counts as the Kotel, this really isn’t what the whole thing was about. Yes, some of the women of the wall may want egalitarian prayer. But this is not why the group was started. The group was started because women wanted to pray at the Kotel together. Without men, not in a mixed group, just women. But unlike what countless women do there every day, they wanted to have a prayer service there, led by women. So creating a place for egalitarian prayer is not a solution [it may be a good thing for other reasons, but it doesn’t help the women of the wall]. It may even lead to no more women’s prayer services at all in the women’s section – after all, people will say, this newfangled stuff should be done at the egalitarian section. Where a women-only prayer doesn’t belong, because this is a mixed section and people will (rightly so) protest a gender-segregated service. So for women’s prayer services at the Kotel it may even be a step back from where we are now.

So – no, creating an egalitarian section at the Kotel is not a solution to the women of the wall "problem". The only solution there is to allow all-women prayer services at the Kotel.

(Redefining Rebbetzin blogged about this already in 2013: Leaping forward or left in the dust).

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