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Inequality at the Western Wall

We began the day by listening to a social worker explain Israel’s involvement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. She told some stories about how she was involved in the public relations and media side of the IDF (Israel Defense Force) and she taught us about the difficulties dealing ethically with Palestinians. She reviewed a few controversial issues including pulling out of these areas and giving the occupied people Israeli citizenship.

After that we went to Ben Yehuda Street and many of us took advantage of a 50% off sale in honor of Israel’s upcoming Memorial Day and bought many unique items. After shopping we further explored the tastes of Israel and enjoyed either falafel or shawarma for lunch. Next, we went through the water tunnels at Ir David (The City of David) and the ancient underground aqueduct.

Our Shabbat dinner was a multi course meal at Focaccia Restaurant. During dinner the group wrote down notes to put into the Kotel (The Western Wall). After dinner we went to the Wall for Shabbat, and we placed our notes inside. There was a lot of thoughtful discussion after about how women are regarded by the Orthodox establishment. It was difficult for some of us to reconcile how women are treated as equals at home in our temple in comparison to how women are segregated and disregarded at the wall.

We ended the evening back at the hotel to spend time together on our last night in Israel!

Spencer Solcoff, Zach Rubinoff, and Graham Tonkonogy

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