JERUSALEM (JTA) – A request by Women of the Wall to hold a Chanukah candle-lighting ceremony in the women’s section of the holy site was denied. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbinic authority of the Western Wall and holy places, denied its request,
“It is difficult not to suspect that Women of the Wall’s real intention is not prayer but rather their determination to change the customs at the Western Wall at any cost, while offending many of the masses of those who pray at the Western Wall and the traditions developed there over hundreds of years of prayer,” Rabinowitz wrote in his denial letter.
In a statement, Women of the Wall said its members will bring their own menorahs to the wall on Thursday evening and light them together in the women’s section. “Unfortunately, Rabinowitz does not recognize the genuine intention and right that Jewish women have to heartfelt prayer at the Kotel,” Women of the Wall wrote. “He has chosen to respond negatively to such a basic request for Women of the Wall and many other women to hold a Jewish ritual at the Kotel, which is permissible and required of us according to Jewish law.”
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu declined to respond to the denial.