DC Rabbi Takes On Israeli Police

DC Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, leader of the Orthodox Ohev Shalom congregation, came out swinging against Israeli police today. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

In an article for Huffington Post, Herzfeld excoriated security forces for arresting women who had come to the Western Wall to pray… for the crime of wearing a tallit.  According to Rabbi Herzfeld:

“…women were denied the right by the Israeli government to practice Jewish law in a manner that is permitted by many great traditional rabbinic authorities. In essence, the Jewish State denied them their right to practice Judaism […] The decision of the Israeli police to arrest a woman for the crime of wearing a tallit is a colossal disgrace.”

For the full text of the article, click here.

This is not the first time that Herzfeld has articulated his views on the issue of women praying at the Western Wall. Two years ago, he clashed with the Israeli Embassy in Washington, following his protest of another woman’s arrest under similar circumstances.

4 replies
  1. Jeremy Yonteff
    Jeremy Yonteff says:

    Oh brother, shmuelly, only jews that read the huffpost will be stupid enough to think that girl is interested in practicing Judaism…

    never mind the issue of wearing a mans garment, she should get a life sentence for those sunglasses

  2. Jake
    Jake says:

    “a manner that is permitted by many great traditional rabbinic authorities”
    i object to that statement. As far as i have seen women started wearing tallis in the 1980’s. just make the statement that “it is a matter practiced by a great number of people all over the world” and that it is a matter you support.

    but, dont lie about history. or perhaps name/reference/cite these authorities that you refer to as a means of proving your statement. basic tenants of written arguments should prevail.

    • Jeremy Yonteff
      Jeremy Yonteff says:

      Right again Jake,

      There is no halachic support for women wearing a tallis even voluntarilly as it is a garment that is worn by men, there is a better arguement for tefillin in reality since they are not a garment.

      There are no legitimate traditional communities or authorities in even modern times that support women wearing a tallis or kipah,

      these regulations at the wall regarding the specifics of what is or is not a womens tallis are secular regulations to try to appease liberal AND observant jews. It has no halachic basis anymore than the notion that women can wear pants made for women.

      Religious women know they have no reason to wear a tallis or feel bad about not doing so.


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