The Western Wall in Jerusalem, in the words and Yiddish accent of Issac Bashevis Singer, is "like any other Veilin Vall (wailing wall)". It is the only distinct and concrete holy place for the Jewish people.
The site of the Western Wall is run by an ultra-Orthodox group of bureaucrats and rabbis who are dictating the life choices of all who enter. Pope Benedict XVI was lucky in 2009, to be allowed to visit the wall with his crucifix. The Rabbi in charge of the holy places and the wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, claimed that just as the pope would take off his shoes when entering a mosque, he should take off his crucifix when visiting the holy Western Wall. It took some argument to explain to Rabinovitch the difference between the pope's shoes (orange Pradas by the way) and his crucifix. One is a clothing item, while the other is the essence of his identity. The Rabbis did not mess with the Pope because the man has 1.5 billion troops. But they do pick on us, the Women of the Wall. -- Anat Hoffman, Huffington Post
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