For all of Sarah Silverman’s rabble rousing, potty-mouthing, and political agitating, who would have guessed she wouldn’t be the Silverman sister who lands in jail? That dubious honor falls on Sarah’s older sister Susan, who was arrested this weekend in Jerusalem, along with nine other women who dared commit the outrageous crime of praying at the Western Wall.
This arrest is the latest episode of ongoing tensions between the Women of the Wall, an advocacy organization which seeks to address gender inequality at Judaism’s holiest site, and the orthodox rabbinate who control the Wall, its surrounding plaza, and the state of Israel at large. As reported by Reuters, Susan and other participants, including Silverman’s 17 year old daughter, were asked by Western Wall police to remove their prayer shawls, which they’d donned as part of their service. When the women refused, they were arrested and escorted away from the site. That’s right, the only democracy in the Middle East just arrested ten extremely dangerous women for wearing shawls in an outdoor plaza. Nice goin’, guys.
What’s more – Susan, a Rabbi with the Reform movement, isn’t exactly a “nobody” in Israeli society; Her husband, Yosef “Yossi” Abramowitz is one of Israel’s leading political and environmental activists. He’s also the president of the Arava Power Company, an Israeli solar energy giant, which has somewhere in the ballpark of 1.5 billion dollars worth of projects in development.
Following the arrest, Sarah Silverman, fresh off her own run-ins with asshole orthodoxy, immediately tweeted in support of her sister
And, as per Jerusalem Post reporter Melanie Lidman, the Jerusalem police might be beginning to realize they may have bitten off more than they can chew.
We can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they find out.
[via The Forward, image via BU Today]
Your description of the situation is a bit simplistic although let’s admit, the point of this article is not that women are working for gender equality in the holiest site in Israel, but that Sarah Silverman happens to be related to someone who was there.
“the only democracy in the Middle East”
Oh, enough with that myth already. At the very least, it’s outdated and needs qualifying. Lebanon and Egypt have popularly-elected leadership and that’s just Israel’s neighbors.
Heck, Iraq and even Gaza have leaders who were chosen by popular vote.
Perhaps, then, by “democracy” you mean more than “government with leaders who are chosen via election” but I would say that one could dispute the extent to which Israel is a democracy too, given the lack of a Constitution and chokehold that the Haredi have on it.
Way to go Rabbi, carry on! Arrested for honoring G-d, what a crock. Keep up your great leadership for women!
Some of you ‘enlightened’ folks should do two minutes of research before spouting off your ‘holier than thou’ rhetoric. The “women of the wall” of which Sarah Silverman’s sister is a part of, have nothing to do with religion or women’s rights. Their only intention is to stir up trouble with their anti-religous and arguably anti-Jewish demonstrations. The Robison Arch is an area that was set up specifically to provide women the opportunity to pray ANY way they want AT THE KOTEL. The Robison Arch is a direct continuation of the same wall as the Kotel. IT IS THE KOTEL. So the fact that these woman continue to attempt to disrupt has nothing to do with equality or religion. P.S. As a videographer, I have been noticing that more and more religious families are conducting their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs at Robison Arch. The fact is that it is a MUCH nicer, quieter and a more beautiful location:)
Sorry Mr. Sass, these women have every right to worship as they wish, whoever they are related to. Their group has Everything to do with religion and rights. Since the Arch is a direct continuation of the same wall, then it is all the same, and the women, or whoever wishes to praise G-d, should be able to without prejudice. I know the powers will negotiate this issue to death and beyond (reason) like everything else but the women will win this argument, as they should. By the way, I saw your website and wish you continued success in your work. I don’t mean to offend you or your belief(s). I just seem to differ, and hope that eventually, everyone will come together enough to bring to a reasonable halt, the madness of it all! Women being arrested for their dress while worshipping G-d while theives and murderers are running around, oy.
Susan wears a prayer shawl at The Wall, and the Pope resigns. Coincidence?
As long as fervent Orthodoxy continues to dominate and control institutions in Israel, all sorts of “inequality” will prevail, not just along gender lines.
I support that the women of the wall to be able to daven there. Donning tallis and tefillin are obviously provocative (or at least uncomfortable making) gestures to one who follows an Orthodox path, regardless of where it happens.
I would like to see reports and coverage of other organizations and efforts to unseat to fervent’s control of significant institutions within Israel. My own fear is that while Women of the Wall has a justified message, it is potentially too radical a movement to which those in control might see as an area where compromise is possible.
Maybe some women should just walk up alongside davening men and see how that goes?
To me this is about respect for tradition. Where else in the world can jewish tradition be publicly practiced, if not in Eretz Yisrael. Having said this, I am male and admit I have no idea what it is like to be subject to life as a female and the restrictions women have had to live with. Like so many things in life this is confusing, but, to me this particular demonstration falls under the umbrella of interfering with traditional religious practice, not about equality under the law which needs to be enforced. Obviously this is a publicity stunt probably aimed at achieving other goals, which may well be important. To Ms. Silverman: Please choose other ways of achieving your goal. Dont we have enough adversity and other problems in Israel? (I know, I know, Have my Matzobrei and eat it too).
…gotta fight the (orthodox) Power!
Good morning!! When I was younger I would have done exactly what the Rabbi did. I didn’t think if I was as good a person and Love HaShem, I should be able to take the alleyah, pray with the men at Shul, etc. I do think there should be a portion of the Wall so women can pray. It’s awful not letting them share this incredible thing to some of us. But now that I’m older, I think there’s a reason behind things. And maybe this way, we can both be HAPPY. But I have to agree with extremes. Extremes assassinated one President of Israel. There’s a real problem with that. Peace and great luck. Hag Smaach
Why the women of Israel and their liberated jewish sisters in the America and Europe do not destroy the patriarchal religious society of Israel like they did destroy the patriarchal religious society of U.S. and Canada and various European countries from the 1960’s on ? Why they have been liberating others but not themselves, why the’ve been turning the ‘goy’ world upside down but not their own ? Do the women of Israel have fewer rights than shiksos/shiksas ?