Women of the Wall’s Anat Hoffman Arrested as Police Wrest Torah from Her Arms
Another day of shame for an Israeli religious establishment and its police lackeys who violently wrested a sacred Torah scroll from the arms of a praying Jewish woman, all because she had the temerity to demand that Jewish women be entitled to worship equally with men at one of Judaism’s holiest sites.
Anat Hoffman, director of Women of the Wall and a leader of Israel’s Reform movement, was arrested by Israeli police at the behest of the men in black who cannot countenance any woman having the balls to demand the rights enjoyed by Jewish men for millenia–to hold and leyn from the Torah.
In Hoffman’s account of her ordeal published at the Forward, she noted that the Israeli Supreme Court had devised a compromise that allowed women to both carry and read from a Torah scroll at the Kotel and that she was not violating this ruling:
We did nothing wrong. We were fully within the guidelines of the Supreme Court ruling which allows us to hold the Torah. We were not reading from the Torah. We were just singing and praying, and on our way to Robinson’s Arch to complete the service, as per the terms of the Supreme Court. There was absolutely no reason for me to be arrested.
The arrest is solely a product of hateful, intolerant, power-grabbing Orthodox rabbis who feel that they own the Kotel and seek to set the rules and punish those who brook their power.
For her “crime,” she was fined $1,300 and placed under a restraining order that bars her from the Kotel for 30 days.
In response the Israeli police spokesperson acknowledged in Alice in Wonderland fashion that Hoffman was arrested for…prayer:
Anat Hoffman was arrested by police…because she prayed with a Sefer Torah.
A shande. If you are in Jerusalem on August 11th, join the Women at the Kotel and show the bastards that they don’t own our religion or the Kotel.
62 thoughts on “Women of the Wall’s Anat Hoffman Arrested as Police Wrest Torah from Her Arms – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Boy, nothing like religion to make one an atheist!
The fact that so many religious people are obviously wrong isn’t a rational excuse to consider atheism right. I do empathise with your sentiment though, as I was an atheist from the age of 10 to 16 based on the same faulty reasoning.
That said, this is yet more proof of how absurd Israel’s claim to being a modern democracy is.
Bless you, Mr./Ms.(?) kyleb. I’m almost 83 and it’s damned nice to know it’s back to the future for me in a 10 – 16 time slot! Seriously, though, and politically, as a most tolerant and liberal atheist/agnostic(?), I do think this little demonstration of theological asinity argues powerfully for separation, especially if a nation wishes to present itself as a democracy. And in truth, can any non-secular, faith-based nation evolve as a democratic society, whatever the core religion? In a way, I think paganism and its polytheism had something going for it. I mean, really, aren’t those ancient Greek myths pretty marvelous?
Perhaps you’d enjoy things like chanting to a 40 foot owl statue while engaging in mock human sacrifices in a “cremation of care” ceremony, like many among our establishment do? I consider it completely wrong-headed myself, and know it’s the same thing as the Greco-Roman mystery cults, like the cults of Babylon, Canaan, Egypt, and such before them. It seems to me that such fanciful beliefs have long corrupted our ruling class the into power mad warmongers which they are. Not that I have anything against polytheists in general though, or atheists for that matter, as I know many are far more decent people than others who claim to be my fellow monotheists.
Anyway, in regard to your original argument, my point was one could just as easily cite the many evils committed by atheists to shun that in favor of theism, so the argument doesn’t hold any real weight either way. As for your question, I’m a man, and for the record, I’m 34.
Atheism is disbelief that there is a god. Reason enough, no matter how idiotically Jews, or Muslims, or Christians behave.
Anyhow, a great example for a “Jewish democratic state.” Ugh!
One problem with atheism, seems to me, is that you need a god not to believe in.
Ah, Norman. Do you know what a non sequitur is? You’ve just used one.
BTW, are you MY Geneva Norman? If so, I can understand.
I do indeed, and also non-sense. You could make me anti-semantic, Sir. The term “atheism” has “god” in it. Check it out. Maybe some sort of different term is needed. And no, I am not YOUR, or anyone else’s, Geneva Norm.
The question was not about the definition of atheism, rather that of non sequitur: a conclusion that does not logically follow from the premises. Yours is classic.
Sorry for the mistaken identity. My Geneva Norman is also 83, and reasons just like you.
Apparently not satisfied with making enemies out of most of the world, the next step is to antagonize liberal American Jews as much as possible.
But in Hoffman’s account in the Forward, this:
Tomorrow it will be, women cannot look at the Torah. Then it will be women cannot be at the Kotel at all. Before you know it, all of Jerusalem will be segregated. That is where we are headed.
has a certain blindness to it, as far as segregation in Jerusalem.
“antagonize liberal American Jews”
Liberal Jews in America should be more worried about assimilation. As an Orthodox woman, I can tell you there is more momentum my way than theirs!
Nothing new there: Liberal Christians will see their children leave the church (but will generally be proud and satified with the morality and care for society that they have internalized). Orthodox and evangelical Christias see their children become more and more liberal. People who have left the church see their children being converted by orthodox and evangelicals… and so it goes round and round in circles.
Oh yeah, you’re gonna take over the Jewish world. What’ll come first? The messiah or Orthodox world Jewish domination?? And why am I not surprised you’re Orthodox given all yr prejudices?
I think when the Messiah comes, that will be the same time as when the Orthodox take over-by definition.
show the bastards that they don’t own our religion or the Kotel.
Apparently the other side was thinking the same thing, Richard!
So you’ve claimed both that Orthodox Judaism will take over the Jewish world but that it won’t happen till the Messiah comes. That will likely be a VERY LONG time fr. now. In which case, you’ll have to deal w. the rest of us apikorsim likely for a few more centuries or more.
Not at all. The Men in Black DO own the Kotel. They DO control what happens there. They DO order the Anat Hoffmans of the Jewish world arrested at their whim. In arresting her, they were merely asserting their monopoly.
I never claimed that Anat Hoffman or anyone should own the Kotel. Merely that they have just as much right to worship there in a manner conducive to their theological beliefs as any black-hat.
for a few more centuries or more.
Not according to the assimilation statistics in the USA and the high birthrate of the Orthodox in Israel. And with secular Israelis? If America opened the doors, many would leave and join the assimilating population there.
To quote Mark Twain: “There are statistics and damn lies.” The Orthodox are fond of claiming that some projected event will occur which will wipe out non-Orthodox Jewry & leave them the last Jew standing. You’re welcome to your delusions…
Mark Twain wasn’t educated in Judaism. Like many Americans, he made generalized comments based on a relatively short visit to the Holy Land.
Not so much blindness.
Just for example, are you aware that increasingly more buses are segregated?
Yes, men in front, women at the back.
This is so infuriating!
I could live with women in front, and men who cannot handle looking at women blindfolded in the back!
I never thought of that but of course you’re right. Jerusalem is entirely segregated bet. Jews & Arabs.
Was the fine and the restraining order imposed by the police rather than a court?
And wouldn’t it be worthwhile to appeal?
I’m sure it would’ve been imposed by the court, not the police though they would’ve levelled the charges that enabled the court to act.
Imagine conservative Catholic priests succeeding in getting the police to drag the altar-girls (that are common in liberal Catholic congregations) away from the altar.
i thought you were just anti zionist
since neither you nor ms hoffman keep any of the halachos (sorry, pretend praying with a sefer torah at the kotel, doesnt count) not sure how you or she can see yourselves as “owning” the religion.
i disagree with her being arrested and fined, just as i disagree with any woman who chooses to wear a talis (even though she is not commanded to do so) being arrested or fined
what would be nice is if ms hoffman kept any of the halachos that she truly is commanded to do, before she takes upon herself those that she isnt…then she would truly be equal to men
That is a despicable LIE! You are skating right on the edge buddy. Right on the edge. One more idiot wind comment like that & you’re outa here. Another thing you don’t understand about our religion is that even our great rabbis NEVER defined who was Jewish based on who observed the mitzvot. Never. There was never a litmus test for belief or anything else in determining who was a good Jew. So knock it off. If you want to espouse such views you can go 1,000 other places to do so.
You know NOTHING about my observance or Jewish belief. Nothing. And whatever you think you know doesn’t reflect the truth.
These women daven at the Kotel & leyn Torah just like you or I. That observance is entirely kosher. If it’s not for you then you’re a bigot against Jewish women.
should i point out your own post where you openly state that you eat at non kosher restaurants?
you hold seminars on friday nights
you send emails to other jews on shabbat
im not defining who is a jew…im defining level of observance
and you have to be honest…your level of observance is not what is required by halacha
not sure which rabbis you are referring to…but im sure they wouldnt include any of the former or current gedolim
im sorry…but one cannot “own” a religion, by making up what he or she believes in
and i disagree with you labeling me a bigot
men and women have different rolls in judaism…which is why women are patur from positive mitzvot that are time dependent….which include praying three times a day, putting on tephilin and wearing tzitzit
doesnt make a woman any less than a man…and if she wants to take these commandments upon herself, she can, as rashi’s daughters did
in my shul, on simchat torah, the women are given a separate room, with a sepher torah to dance with…this is for sniut sake….
our rabbi goes out of his way every shabbat to discuss ways of keeping peace in ones home…of giving over to ones wife
i am far from a bigot…nor do i reside in a bigoted jewish society
but reading your words…it seems you might have some issues with those that label themselves “charedi” and/or orthodox
and as i noted above, i was under the impression that the only people you are anti are zionists.
and in regards to the reform movement, while it might be large in the united states, it is rather small in israel…and is still not considered the norm.
You said I don’t observe any mitzvot. That is a lie. A hurtful, disgusting lie. In fact, I’ve just decided that if you don’t retract this claim, you’re outa here. So respond promptly or you’re gone. That bullshit you spread incensed me. NO ONE impugns my Jewishness. No one. Certainly not you.
Whether or not I eat treif has no bearing on my observance of other mitzvot or on my being a good Jew. I will not let you or anyone smear my Jewishness on any account.
And I’m not going to get into this stupid debate with you which others have also tried to argue here. Not going there.
In fact, no rabbi I know whether historically or currently except haredim and perhaps some other Orthodox rabbis would agree that Jewishness may be determined by one’s level of observance. Jews simply are not defined by this. They are determined as being Jewish by birth or in the instance of converts by embrace of the tradition.
I’m not making up anything. I attended Jewish Theological Seminary for five years, studied Judaica at Hebrew University for two years. Have an MA in Hebrew literature (including religious literature) I don’t make up anything. I know the tradition as well as & likely better than you.
NO, in YOUR tradition they are patur from these obligations. But normative Judaism is changing rapidly & women have embraced these religious obligations. And more power to ’em. You don’t get to throw them out of your religion because you can’t abide their effrontery in redefining religious traditions.
Oh lord, you’re tzniusdike takeh [it means ‘sexual modesty’ for those not following with their Hebrew-English dictionaries at home]. I haven’t heard that word in years & hoped I wouldn’t hear it for another few decades.
Orthodox Judaism is by & large a sexist partriarchal tradition in which women are entirely subservient. For example, why should such men even have to be told to “give over” to their women? Because men are used to getting their way in everything regardless of whatever your rabbi may say.
When I call myself a progressive Zionist?? That’s rich, bud. Real rich.
If the Israeli Orthodox movement would like to secede fr. world Jewry it would be OK with me. But until they do they’ll have to grapple w. the idea that there are FAR MORE Reform Jews in the world than Orthodox Jews. FAR more.
And we’re done discussing my level of Judaism & whether or not I’m a good Jew or what mitzvot I do or do not observe. DONE. Understand me well.
And if you attempt to provoke debate about my views at Jewlicious by using me as your punching bag in comment threads there, you’ll also be outa here. That was really passive-aggressive & not appreciated.
If the Israeli Orthodox movement would like to secede
In actuality, it was the “non-Orthodox” Jews who have left “normative” Judaism when the Haskala took root. As for them being the majority, Christians could just as easily claim superiority of numbers over Jews. This has never stopped Jews from clinging to the Jewish tradition.
From sheer numbers & every other vantage “normative” in Jewish terms is not the ultra Orthodox who control the Wall. We non Orthodox are “normative Judaism.”
I would like to point out that it was the “non-Orthodox” who coined the term “Orthodox.” Torah Judaism is the correct term for observant Judaism. Please define what normative is!
There are MANY Jews who are observant but not Orthodox.
our great rabbis NEVER defined who was Jewish based on who observed the mitzvot. Never.
I would like to point out one exception to this-converts. The Talmud states that converts are like sores. They are usually much more observant and knowledgeable, or phonies altogether (as I have witnessed). Either way, it is an embarrassment to those of us who were born Jewish. In any case, that person’s Jewishness is contingent upon their dedication to the Torah’s commandments.
Yes, & I noted that in a comment I wrote yesterday.
I’m not expert enough in the laws of conversion. But it seems to me that converts are asked to embrace their fellow Jews & Jewish tradition. I don’t know that it’s demanded of them that they observe all 613 commandments.
It is-in fact the reason is that the Jews themselves accepted the entire story, unconditionally and the rest of the nations didn’t-they wanted to read it first and negotiate with God about it. A convert is someone who makes a similar “vow” and was, in fact, present at Mount Sinai. That is why we read Ruth on Shavuot and David himself was born and died on Shavuot. It is actually considered a “converts holiday,” ironically-the giving of the Torah is something many Jews are unfamiliar with. The source (Midrash) is below:
פרקי דרבי אליעזר (היגר)-“חורב” פרק מ
But that is true of converts to any religion, ideology, or cause so often it’s become a cliché. A new convert, not having been born into the group, will be actively interested even in details others take for granted. The layering of knowledge into foreground and background, conscious and subconscious, hasn’t occurred for him yet – it’s all foreground still, all equally urgent and important. He may even feel pressured (whether or not such pressure actually exists) to display a particular fervour in order to prove himself. No wonder converts often have fundamentalist leanings.
In my circles there’s a joke:
Q: What do you call someone who knows everything about Irish music?
Yes, very well said. However, as I pointed out, it was the fact that the other nations rejected small aspects of Judaism that made them gentiles. In fact, the entirety of Rabbinical Judaism was laid out by the son of a convert (Akiva ben Yosef).
Going back to the issue of David, the Talmud relates that people questioned even David’s “Jewishness.”
Doeg the Edomite then said to him (Saul) ‘Instead of inquiring whether he is fit to be king or not, inquire rather whether he is permitted to enter the assembly or not’! ‘What is the reason’? ‘Because he is descended from Ruth the Moabitess’.
Also, with Islam and Christianity, “membership” is based more on a kind of belief rather than performance. Conversion to Judaism is cannot be compared to other ideologies.
When Ben Gurion made his agreement with the Orthodox, I don’t believe any Reform/Conservatives objected.
There was no Reform or Conservative movement in Israel then. There is now. That why now.
The number of Conservative and Reform synagogues in Israel has not changed much in the last 30 years. There are something like 50 C and 15 R synagogues, compared with thousands of Orthodox synagogues.
The best way for C and R to receive recognition in Israel is to have 1 million C and R Jews make aliyah, particularly from the US. Golda Meir threw down this challenge 40 years ago to a delegation of American Rabbis. We are still waiting.
BTW-Part of the Western Wall is open for non-Orthodox Jews to pray-this is the so-called “Robinson’s Arch” area. This is where Rahm Emanuel’s son had his ceremony recently. I don’t know why Hoffman didn’t do her thing there, in that case there would have been no problem.
You are either ignorant or a liar. I lived in Israel in 1979-80 and there were almost no synagogues then that were not Orthodox. There were a few, maybe 5 or 6 in the entire country for ea. denomination.
Then I suggest you resolve yr conflict w. the Arabs so that American Jews will feel safe in making the decision to make aliyah. No one wants to inherit another people’s meshugas.
You should’ve read the article to which I linked in which Hoffman specifically says that she WAS carrying the Torah scroll to Robinson’s Arch when she was gang-tackled by the goon squad. They never let her get there.
someone ought to tell hoffman – if you go to a bar and the patrons beat you up and the owner does nothing, don’t go back there.
ps: there are plenty of other places to pray in israel.
Barman, a beer for Tzvee and the “patrons” …. !!!
The next time they get rough with the ladies in the “bar” instead of a beer they’ll get kicked on their butts !!!
It’s a promise.
Jewish women should be able to pray in whatever way they want wherever they want as long as it conforms with generally accepted notions as defined not by the Men in Black, but by normative Judaism. Reform Judaism which represents a huge proportion of the world’s affiliated Jews, is normative.
If you were a Jewish women you wouldn’t write what you just did.
Reform Judaism is basically Christianity minus Jesus.
I am a Jewish woman and I observe the laws of modesty. I fervently condemn Hoffman’s antics.
How stupid & offensive is this comment? Let me count the ways. This is one of the lamest, most insulting & egregious violations of my comment rules in some time. You’re a lame, insulting, Jewishly uneducated boor who has never learned derech eretz & you’ll be insulting Reform Judaism in this blog no longer. Future comments will be moderated since you are talking such utter narischkeit & I wish to save you fr. yourself lest you make a mockery of yourself.
The Kotel is a place of unification between the many sects of Judaism.
That is what the young soldiers that fought and died to liberate the Kotel on 1967 meant.
The Kotel is not the property or the territory of any particular Jew or Jewish organization … and I don’t care how holly they think they could be.
Women of the Wall, Women of the World …. come to Jerusalem. Come in Peace. Come to the Kotel. We will make sure you get all the respect you deserve.
Isn’t it bad enough that most of the world wants to see Jerusalem split in two. Will our side be split even further between the men and the women? The Jews of Jerusalem need to unite not fight. Also, I am a Canadian convert and have been told that yes I am as Jewish as all Jews and I did take my vows seriously.
As for aliya, where do I sign?
Well, with all the truly deplorable aspects of this incident, the woman was not exactly beheaded or stoned to death for that, was she? ([…] For her “crime,” she was fined $1,300 and placed under a restraining order that bars her from the Kotel for 30 days.)
Of course none of this could have even remotely happened under Sharia law, where all women enjoy equal rights in all matters of religious ceremony and otherwise (even “honored”, as in “honor-killing”….)
But Oops! I’ve just violated four(!) of Richard’s posting rules: I’ve been (a) rude, (b) racist, (c) way off topic, and (d) irrelevant….
You say, “I’ve been (a) rude, (b) racist, (c) way off topic, and (d) irrelevant….” You might also add “quite incomplete”. For instance, in addition to stating what would happen to the offending female in an Islamic society, why limit yourself to Sharia? For example, you failed to state that the woman wasn’t tossed into a volcano to please one god or another. I mean, really, couldn’t you have provided us with a few more convincing examples to better demonstrate by contrast Israeli liberalism? To think, that nasty woman was only “fined $1,300 and placed under a restraining order that bars her from the Kotel for 30 days.” Well, three cheers for Israeli democracy! I wonder what a second offense would entail? Hopefully, though, she has learned her lesson.
[comment deleted for violating comment rules–READ THEM before commenting again]
What a pathetic little jerk you are, Richard, to go and complain in another post of yours about you being banned on the Israeli Fresh site and then attribute it as another fault of the ENTIRE state of Israel. You don’t even let your readers the chance of judging for themselves whether my comment above was 100% legitimate, perhaps even INTERESTING to some of them.
You ask me to go read your rules each time before commenting? Why bother? Go read your own stupid rules yourself (I don’t even believe they exist, since YOU are allowed to do anything YOU want here). I’ll just “take my business” elsewhere, so we all can be happy.
Please do. You have contributed nothing but snark so far.
> … nothing but snark so far.
Sure, because that’s the only part of what I wrote Richard has allowed going through. Anyway, I’m outta here. Enjoy yourselves commenting on each other’s identical same views avoiding the tough questions of these really important issues the world is facing. Obviously you’re not here to deal with reality. Sorry I’ve even wandered in here. Complete waste of time and energy. Bye for good!
Is that a promise?
No, not every time. You only have to read them once if you’re really paying attention & respect the rules of the house. But you haven’t even read them once. As for their not existing, look in the sidebar, they’re very clearly linked prominently & at the top of the page.
People like you are funny when you bid fond adieu. Usually it’s “Bye.” Then you’re back for yet one more comment and it’s “Bye, I really mean it this time.” We’ll see how sincere & truthful you really are.
Is you standard of what represents acceptable behavior in Israel anything that is better than the way women are treated in the Pakistani tribal areas & Taliban controlled areas in Afghanistan??? Because I mean if that’s the case, then I suppose imprisoning her for her temerity would’ve been OK w. you since that’s so much lighter treatment than what she might’ve suffered in those places. I mean, do you really want Israel judged by these standards? Or do you want Israel judged by the standard of a western country, whose standards it does not meet.
The law is the law, you may disagree with the law, you may not like the law, you may even refuse the law, hashem´s law. BUT THE LAW WILL STILL BE THE LAW.
and let me remind you all of you of a concept its call LASHON HA´RAA think about that
Law, what law? The Jewish God says women can’t read Torah? Gimme a break. I’m just as Jewish as you and my rabbi IS a woman and reads Torah every week. My Jewish God is down with that.
It seems to me Mr. Silversteins issue is with Torah
Nope, my problem is with the insensitive, brutish men who misinterpret Torah to be as misogynist as they are.
I’m appalled and amazed that there are still people of both sexes who can not only accept gender discrimination within Judaism but sanctimoniously justify it. Judaism has been just as subject to change as anything else in the world – rabbinic Judaism is a great moral advance on the Biblical Israelite religion, and perhaps halacha is showing itself to be an ongoing process. If we’re created in the image of God, perhaps this development is our journey to the full potential of that image.