Women’s blessing at Jerusalem’s Western Wall curtailed

A bid by a Jewish women’s group to challenge tradition at Jerusalem’s Western Wall with a blessing usually conducted by men was curtailed Sunday after a decision by Israel’s attorney general.


The plan was the latest by the Women of the Wall group to push for equal prayer rights at the site, the holiest location where Jews are currently allowed to pray.


Around 50 women gathered on the plaza leading to the wall amid Passover celebrations to pray, though without carrying out the full blessing.
An Israeli member of the liberal Jewish religious group Women of the Wall wears a “Tallit”, a traditional prayer shawls for men, on April 24, 2016 ©Gali Tibbon (AFP)


They prayed under heavy police guard as ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and boys in dark suits looked on and harangued them.


Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s decision on Thursday prohibited the first-ever “women’s priestly blessing” at the wall because it did not conform to local custom.


The ultra-Orthodox establishment that oversees the Western Wall strongly opposed the bid, viewing it as a desecration under their strict interpretation of Jewish law.


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