In the book of Numbers (15:38-39), we read that the Israelites were instructed to "make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments…that they shall look at it and recall all the commandments of the Eternal and observe them..."
I had come to Israel to join my friend Anat Hoffman, who is one the leaders of the Women of the Wall. The previous month, there had been a random decree that as women were coming in, they were not allowed to wear their prayer shawls, their tallits. I’ve been wearing a prayer shawl since I would say the late '70s, a long time. And it’s just considered a regular part of my ritual in prayer. In 1968, the Orthodox rabbinic created a mechitza, which is a separation between men and women at the Western Wall. And the understanding here in a very traditionally observant manner, in an orthodox manner, is that men are obligated to pray. Women are not. The Orthodox have deemed this site to be a synagogue.
I grew up in a home with my single mother and two sisters. My mother had one sister, two nieces, and one nephew. When my mother died, our synagogue shipped in the men of the traveling shiva minyan to say Kaddish for her the night of her funeral.
Following a court ruling in their favor, leaders of an organization pushing for women's prayer rights at the Western Wall have withdrawn their endorsement of Natan Sharansky’s compromise proposal to expand the egalitarian section there.
At the conclusion of Yom Kippur years ago, I attended a break-the-fast at the home of old friends. I loaded my plate with a bagel, lox, and vegetables and ambled over to a conversational group, where I stood munching and listening.
When I think of the word “hope,” one sentence comes to mind: Hope is a dangerous thing.
I don't remember where or when I first heard the statement, and I'm fairly sure it was intended as a warning, but the idea has stuck with me.
Hope is a dangerous thing.
A Major League Baseball committee proposed new rules last month for using instant replay to correct the mistakes of umpires – and I’ve been thinking about how much easier things would be if we could just apply those rules to everyday life.