It’s our right to light : This Hanukkah, No Discrimination of Women at the Kotel
On November 30, 2015 the Attorney General’s office wrote a letter to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, administrator of the Western Wall and Holy Places, in response to Women of the Wall’s campaign. The bottom line: the Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony he has conducted until now constitutes discrimination and a violation of the commitments of the government’s report on the exclusion of women in the public sphere.
In the closing of her unprecedented letter, Assistant Attorney General Dana Zilber writes, “Preventing women from participating in national ceremonies is wrongful discrimination and we request that [Rabinowitz] ensure this fact is not taken for granted and that steps are being taken to include women in the national candle-lighting ceremony on this coming Hanukkah at the Western Wall.” Zilber requested that the AG’s office receive a list of all those expected to participate in the ceremony this year, to assist with the enforcement of the decision on the matter.
Anat Hoffman, Women of the Wall Chair: “It is almost graphic how Women of the Wall were the match that ignited the flame on the first candle to ever be lit by a woman at the national Hanukkah ceremony at the Kotel. Whatever woman is chosen for this great honor, she is standing on the shoulders of Women of the Wall who struggled for 27 years to achieve freedom for women at the Western Wall. It is clear to me that one candle dispel a whole lot of darkness but no amount of darkness can extinguish that candle.”
Wishing you a “Chag Urim Sameach”. Happy Hanukkah. Rabbi Julia Margolis