Women of Wall Hanukkah request denied

A request by Women of the Wall to hold a Hanukkah 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, turned down its request, Women of the Wall said in a statement on Dec. 14. According to the group, Rabinowitz said the menorah lit on the men’s side could be seen by all.

“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 its statement, Women of the Wall said its members planned to bring their own menorahs to the wall on Dec. 18 and light them together in the women’s section. The group meets at the Western Wall once a month for prayers.

Women have the same obligation as men to light a Hanukkah menorah, the organization pointed out.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu declined to respond to the denial, Women of the Wall said in its statement. Writing to Netanyahu last month, the group asked that a large menorah equivalent to the one lit in the men’s section be placed in the women’s section, allowing the women to hold their own public lighting. — jta