"My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples," said the prophet Isaiah. If God's Temple is to be a House of prayer for all peoples, surely it must also be one for all Jews, male and female, of all varieties and movements. The attempts of patriarchal, chauvinist ultra-Orthodoxy to turn the Kotel into an ultra-orthodox synagogue will not succeed. The Kotel is a place prayer for everyone, male and female.
God gave the commandment to wear tzitzit to all Jews, male and female, without reference to their gender. However, the ultra-Orthodox man who controls the Kotel feels that women who keep this commandment are pulling the rug out of control out from under his feet. His ability to continue oppressing women and distancing them from worshipping God is in danger; therefore, he took action against us.
The crowd gathered here today proves to the Jewish people everywhere, in Israel and in the Diaspora, that "offence against public sensitivity" is not the sole province of the ultra-Orthodox. We are also the public, the public who pays taxes and serve our country, in the IDF and National Service.
The time has come to put an end to the absurd situation in which the state of Israel is the only democracy is the world where Jewish do not enjoy freedom of religion!
As someone who grew up in Masorti-Conservative movement and a member of Women of the Wall, which brings together woman from all Jewish religious movements – Reform, Orthodox and Conservative – I call on Rabbi Rabinowitz to remember that as the person responsible for the holy places, it is his responsibility to represent all of the Jewish women and men who want to pour out their hearts before the Creator at the Kotel.
My prayer is that God will bless His people, the people of Israel with love for one another, male and female, and fulfill, through us, the words of the prophet, "And they lovingly grant permission to each other to gratifyingly sanctify their Creator."
Nofrat Frenkel, 28 Nov. 2009
Nofrat Frenkel's speech at the demonstration on Saturday night in Jerusalem:
(translation by Shoshana Michael-Zucker, Kehliat Hod veHadar, Kfar Saba)