JERUSALEM — Jewish feminists in prayer shawls and skullcaps and carrying a Torah sparked furious protests from ultra-Orthodox rabbis Thursday when they prayed at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine.
"A woman carrying a Torah is like a pig at the Wailing Wall," said Rabbi Meir Yehuda Getz, who is in charge of the site.
More than 50 women, who were in Israel to attend the first international Jewish feminist conference, prayed at the wall to demonstrate for women's rights to equality in the traditionally male-dominated Jewish ritual. The women, mainly from the United States and Canada, included two women rabbis from North American Reform and Reconstructionist movement synagogues.
"It was a simple, very moving prayer in which you can also see something symbolic," said Naomi Aarenstein, spokeswoman for the Empowerment of Jewish Women conference.
They chanted prayers, read from the Torah (Scriptures) and sang hymns in the women's enclosure at the sexually segregated site, the last remnant of King Solomon's biblical Jewish temple.