‘Praying In Her Own Voice’

It’s a testament to my growing spiritual sensitivity that I’m able to enjoy a movie about such ugly women.

People will either love or hate the protagonists of this documentary from Yael Katzir.

The hour-long production makes no pretense about whose side it is on.

It is billed:

The new documentary Praying in her own Voice is a thought provoking powerful piece about Feminism and Judaism . It depicts the struggle of the Women of the Wall in the last few years for the right to pray like men do at the Western Wall. It includes commentary from some of the top women rabbis in LA: Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Naomi Levy , Rabbi Sharon Brous, Rabbi Denise Eger , Rabbi Lisa Edwards and Rabbi Lynn Brody. Rabbi Levy, Rabbi Edwards, and Executive Producers Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus will attend a panel discussion after the film, moderated by Rabbi Brody. The film was directed by award winning director Yael Katzir and is an hour long, Hebrew and English, with English sub-titles.

The leaders of this small group (they never seem to number more than two dozen, of which about a dozen are Israelis and the rest largely American visitors) want to do everything that men can do at the Western Wall — wear tefillin, blow a shofar, tallitot (prayer shawls), call women to the Torah and conduct a service (in Orthodox Judaism, only men do this). These are mad manly women. I said an involuntary "Oy vey!" when I saw some of them wearing tefillin (traditionally reserved for men, with a few exceptions such as Rashi’s daughters).

These women are fat and passionate and old and bizarre. They convey no sympathy for the Jewish tradition they want to overturn and no doubts about their own righteousness.

Their opponents are just as old and ugly, screaming epithets and starting fights.

I love watching this hour-long fight. To some it makes Jews look bad. I think it makes Jews look good that they care so much about Torah and prayer.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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