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Sarasota News Leader April 12, 2013 OPINION Page 59 MY ROSH CHODESH NISAN WITH WOMEN OF THE WALL By Sue Huntting Contributing Writer COMMENTARY Three things will never be the same for me: Rosh Chodesh (the first day of a Jewish month); my associations with the Kotel (the Western Wall) in Jerusalem; and my choice to wear a tallit for Jewish prayer. Rabbi Geoff and Sue Huntting and Elana and These all came together on Tuesday, March Mark Margolis in Jerusalem after visiting 12, as my husband, Rabbi Geoff Huntting, and the Western Wall in March. Contributed photo I — along with Elana and Mark Margolis — joined several hundred women and men to side; and the constant ranting of several Harepray on the morning of the first day of the Jew- di women amongst us, all intended to disrupt ish month of Nisan, clearly in defiance of the our kavannah (intention). laws governing women's prayer at the Kotel. We watched the security officers' careful efWe were prepared. Israeli law protects holy forts to keep raised voices and physical conplaces from desecration, including religious frontations to a minimum. Knowing that coverceremonies not "according to local custom, age by the media was important, we were yet which may hurt the feelings of the worshipers resentful of their intrusion during a worship toward the place." For almost 25 years, wom- experience. en have been gathering to pray at the Kotel, organized by the association Women of the Wall We also felt the wonderful support of the many — under the leadership of Anat Hoffman — to men standing behind us in solidarity. challenge the religious authorities' discrimina- Unlike in previous months, no one was arresttion against women praying at the Kotel and ed or detained, most likely because of the parwearing tallitot. ticipation of the brave and principled KnesIt was an intense morning: We felt relief at set members. I was so honored to participate moving smoothly through security entering in this act of civil disobedience in support of the Kotel plaza ourselves, yet anxiety over equal religious access and expression for Jewwhether Anat Hoffman and the three women ish women, and I am in awe of the women who Knesset members accompanying her, wearing stand up for these rights every month. tallitot, would also be allowed through; being Mark your calendar: Rosh Chodesh Sivan is on approached by a police officer and informed May 10, 2013. that wearing my tallit was illegal; straining to follow a morning service over the rowdy sing- Sue Huntting is the Religious School director ing and shofar blasts coming from the men's at Temple Sinai in Sarasota. %

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