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Letters: Jerusalem's wall for all

January 08, 2013
  • Jews pray during rituals at the Western Wall.
Jews pray during rituals at the Western Wall. (Kevin Frayer / Associated…)

Re "Talking to a wall, connecting with God," Opinion, Jan. 4

Reform Rabbi Ben Kamin may imagine that the "stern, bearded men" he sees at the Western Wall in Jerusalem are "scolding" him "with their fierce eyes" for not wearing a skullcap, but even his imagination should not twist the facts.

Rabbi Kamin's female relatives are, despite what he seems to imply, not barred from praying at the site. Yes, the area of the wall plaza is segregated by sex, befitting a place that is the remnant of the courtyard of a temple where such separation was instituted to ensure a feeling of solemnity and holiness for worshipers. But women are just as welcome as men.

Rabbi Kamin is right that God sees no difference between Orthodox men "in their traditional garb and me in my jeans and blazer." If he smiles at those black-clad men, he may find that Jews who don't dress like him nevertheless consider him their brother.

Rabbi Avi Shafran

New York

Kamin's piece is one of the most touching, well-written articles about faith, Judaism and the kaleidoscope that Israel is becoming. It made me want to go and touch the wall myself and pray to God, and I'm not even Jewish.

Gus Muller


I have visited the Western Wall on multiple occasions. Although I also wear bluejeans, I have always felt that it is the place of the pious praying.

We are visitors. Consequently, I always wear a yarmulke out of consideration to the seriously religious. It is an orthodox site. There is no need to make a scene there about one's own values.

A simple act of kindness such as wearing a yarmulke allows one to pray or observe as one wishes, and to touch the wall that promotes a peaceful and spiritual presence.

William Josephs



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