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May 3, 2013 10:11 am

Jewish Witches, Warlocks, and Wiccans: There is a Place for you at the Western Wall

avatar by Moshe Averick

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Jewish Press, 4/25/13: Jews for Ba’al Worship Win in District Court

The Jerusalem District Court handed down its decision on Thursday in The State of Israel vs. The Jerusalem Chapter of Jews for Ba’al Worship, who were arrested on April 11, 2013 while praying at the Western Wall. Judge Moshe Sobel decided against the police appeal, confirming there was no cause for arrest and that the Ba’al Worshippers did not disturb the public order.

The judge also declared that the Ba’al Worshippers are not violating the restriction in the law governing sacred sites, which says that visitors at the Western Wall are to pray and hold religious celebrations according to “local custom.” In the judge’s view, the “local custom” could be interpreted with national and pluralistic implications, and not necessarily the Orthodox Jewish customs of the city of Jerusalem.

Anat Hoffman, Chairperson of Jews for Ba’al Worship said, “Today Jews for Ba’al Worship liberated the Western Wall for all Jewish People. We did it for the great diversity of Jews in the world, all of whom deserve to pray according to their belief and custom at the Western Wall.”

Ich bein Spartacus!

Of course there was no such article in the Jewish Press. The actual headline that did appear: Women of the Wall Win in District Court and the text above is a verbatim reproduction except that “Jews for Ba’al Worship” is substituted for “Women of the Wall.”  The judge’s decision is a sterling example of judicial arrogance where the judge does not enforce the law but uses his power as a judge to arbitrarily impose his views on the public and in effect legislate law. If “local custom” at the Western Wall does not mean “Orthodox custom,” then of course it can only mean “any custom” that the judge happens to find suitable to his taste, effectively rendering the law meaningless. This would mean “local custom” includes:

  • Atheists of the Wall – Men and women holding hands with their eyes closed while fervently declaring, “God wasn’t, God isn’t, God won’t be” (repeat ad nauseam)
  • Nudists of the Wall – “God doesn’t wear clothes and neither do we!”
  • Cultural Jews of the Wall – Don’t pray but stand respectfully while eating very thick hot pastrami-on-rye sandwiches covered with mustard. They are strictly forbidden to use mayonnaise.
  • Witches of the Wall (not to be confused with Women of the Wall) – A charming group  who prance around in a circle with broomsticks while chanting, “Geben mir dem roobee slipperz” (Yiddish for “Give me the ruby slippers”)
  • Spartacusians of the Wall – (Based on an ancient Hollywood tradition that Kirk Douglas’ real name is Issur Danielovitch-Demsky) Requires a quorum of at least a hundred men who keep repeating: “I am Spartacus!”  “No, I am Spartacus!”
  • Flower Children of the Wall – Aging Jewish hippies and young hippie wannabes who hold candles and sing “The Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell. Optional: Readings from “The Little Prince”
  • Koufax’s of the Wall – They gather only on Yom Kippur wearing L.A. Dodger jerseys and holding baseballs but don’t pitch.

"Thou shalt not use mayonnaise"

How wonderful that cultural diversity has finally reached Jerusalem. Now, if only moshiach (the messiah) would come.

Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi, a regular columnist for the Algemeiner Journal, and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website. If you wish to be informed when new articles appear, send an email to moe.david@hotmail.com with the email address and the word “Subscribe” in the subject line.

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  • man

    So, Rabbi Kaduri was right, Mashiach did appear soon after Sharon’s death. But Mashiach has now to be in hiding, as Moshe, the first saviour, was in hiding. The Bible code has correctly predicted the coming of Mashiach in the Hebrew year 5775. The Rebbe was right as well, that Mashiach was ready to come. What follows now? Prepare yourself for The Day of Judgement, as the winning powers will be India and Russia.

  • man

    Mashiach was at the Western Wall on Sunday 5 October 2014, Hebrew year 5775, in the morning, the first day after Yom Kippur. He was wearing white, having the yellow flower of life on His chest, kippa, but no tallit. None recognized Him. The Day of Judgement Yom HaDin started that day from Shaar Harachamim and Shekhina has descended from the heaven. Hashem did hear your voice.

  • Rachel Ann

    If you can not understand how your comparison,and yes that is what you did, however much you wish to deny it, is sinat chinam, illogical and harmful to klal yisrael, then I am at a loss as to how to explain it. Wearing tefillin and tallasim, as much as I disagree with their actions, is in no way similar to or on the level of worshiping false gods, a violation of Torah, public indecency, or foolish behavior having no standing whatsoever in Torah life. Rashi’s daughters wore Tallis and Tefillin, as did Michal, Dovid’s wife (though the Rabbi’s state because she didn’t have children, still it was not assur). Please reconsider this post. Please consider how harmful your post is to Jews everywhere.

    • Moshe Averick

      Rachel Ann,

      I was not the one who started the controversy at the Kotel. I was not the one who started taking public actions that I KNEW would offend many people and create friction at the Western Wall, the holiest site in the world for all Jews. It was these obnoxious, publicity seeking women who felt some bizarre need to PUBLICLY force their feminist interpretation of Judaism on the men and women who came to the Kotel to pray. They are the ones who have violated the prohibition against being like Korach and his followers and creating Machlokes (argument and disharmony).

      If I would walk into a Reform temple with a sign protesting their denial of the divinity of the Torah or their use of microphones and musical instruments on Shabbat it would be equally obnoxious. I do not accept your misplaced righteous indignation. Please direct it where it belongs; at the women of the wall who started this whole thing in the first place.

      • Lisa Liel

        Moshe, for crying out loud. You know I’m 100% against the Women at the Wall (I won’t call them Women *of* the Wall, because they aren’t), but avodah zarah? Seriously? Get a grip.

  • Bassi

    Nice Sinat Chinam. Comparing fellow Jewish people to ba’al worshippers (and don’t deny it… that’s what you’re doing).
    I’m sure that Mashiach whom you are waiting for will be around reaaaaal soon.

    • Moshe Averick


      I am amused by your cavalier accusation of sinat chinam. As I pointed out to Rachel Ann, it is the women of the wall who have generated sinat chinam, controversy, friction and disharmony. If they are so devoted to God, let them pray at the kotel with other Jews in a way that does not offend or create arguments. Our sages say that if Jews act harmoniously, they are victorious in battle with their enemies even if they are involved in Pagan worship. These women want to create controversy and friction and mask it as some sort of devotion to the service of God. Of course, they are serving themselves and their need to be in the spotlight and to feel “meaningful.”

      It is the women of the wall who are the haters, not me. I do not look for opportunities to create strife and disharmony among other Jews – no matter how strongly I disagree with them – and then self righteously proclaim that it is because I can’t properly pray to God without creating animosity.

      You need to quit blaming the victims here, which are the innocent people who go to the Kotel to commune with God. The women of the wall are using terror tactics; and you are living proof how effective these tactics are.

      • Duh

        “and then self righteously proclaim that it is because I can’t properly pray to God without creating animosity.”

        That’s exactly what you’re doing.

  • Kevin Bjornson

    You forgot sun worshipers. According to Freud, monotheism evolved from sun worship because there is only one Sol.
    (The ancients didn’t realize there are many stars).

    There is only one singularity, and singularity worshipers should be allowed to celebrate at a holy site of their intellectual ancestors just as sun worshipers should be allowed to celebrate at a holy site of their intellectual descendents.

    Nudism should be legal, though property owners have a right to restrict access to their property. Note, nudity is the opposite of burka-wearing. So you appear to want to enforce dress codes only slightly less conservatively than under Sharia law.

  • Shalom

    An excellent point! Keep on your good work.

  • Simon,

    “unemployed stone throwing parasites”? Sounds pretty hateful to me. I don’t hate woman of the wall at all. My only point – and it is quite obvious both here and in my previous article – is that the Kotel is not the place to showcase your ideology, not for woman of the wall or anyone else. It is a place for all Jews to pray to God and the only way to maintain unity is for everyone to observe orthodox customs. The same way that JUF dinners are kosher by Orthodox standards, not because we want to force Reform Jews to eat kosher food, but to maintain unity.

    If women want to wear tefillin,etc. just do it somewhere else, not at the Kotel where you will cause friction and disunity. The point is so obvious that only stubborn, obnoxious self-inflated publicity hounds like Woman of the Wall could be blind to the idea.

    • Duh

      “If women want to wear tefillin,etc. just do it somewhere else, not at the Kotel where you will cause friction and disunity.”

      If orthodox want to pray without women present who are wearing tefillin, etc. just do it somehwere else, not at the Kotel where you will cause friction and disunity.

  • Joshua Bernstein

    Atheists of the Wall: Would not disturb the public order. Should the Jewish state really concern itself with thoughtcrime?

    Nudists of the Wall: This would disturb the public order the same way it would in any public venue. Slippery Slope Fallacy.

    Cultural Jews of the Wall: Would not disturb the public order.

    Witches of the Wall: Would not disturb the public order. Should you really bring up this particular topic? I only think it’s a little “hot” after the middle ages…

    Spartacusians of the Wall: Would not disturb the public order.

    Flower Children of the Wall: Would not disturb the public order. This sounds pretty cool actually.

    Koufax’s of the Wall: Would not disturb the public order.

    • Joshua,

      Don’t get your point at all.

      • Gerry Hirsch

        That is the problem! It iseems that you do not get most points that are logical and obvious to most reasonable, educated people.

        • Moshe Averick


          Perhaps you could explain to me what his point was. My point is simple, the kotel is not the place to make political/ideological statements of any kind, particularly when they deeply offend others and cause friction and disunity.

          What is your point or what is Joshua’s point?

    • Joshua,

      Jews For Jesus would not disturb the public order either?
      Again, what is your point?

  • ger tzedek

    You are a terrible person, comparing Jews wanting to worship freely to practitioners of avodah zarah.

    • Ger tzedek,

      you did not read the article carefully. I did not compare them to pagans. My point was very simple. If women of the wall are free to introduce their radical feminist form of worship at the wall, why not Ba’al worshipers also? Why not Jews for Jesus? Aren’t they entitled to express themselves too?

      • While I don’t agree with WoW’s politics or their methods, nothing they ask to do actually violates halacha.

        Wicca is considered witchcraft and some forms of Christianity is considered idolatry, which DOES violate halacha.

        • Moshe Averick

          Devo K,

          Of course it violates halacha. You are either ignorant of the halacha or you have been misled.

          Your remarks also remind me of something I once heard from Rabbi Moshe Meiselman. He observed that many people have this idea that Halacha (jewish law) is like an obstacle course. In other words How do I get to where I want to go and avoid those pesky halachic obstacles? That in itself is already a perversion of what Torah is all about.

  • MG

    Disgusting. If not for the fact that it was so far fetched, my reaction to the first paragraph would not have been the author’s desired disgust, but rather one of joy at the uncharacteristically egalitarian actions of the court in question.

    After all, how could it be otherwise-if you support opening up the Temple Mount (proper, where the mosques are) to religions other than Islaam, surely it makes sense that the Wall should also be accessible to all (who are willing to conduct themselves in a non-disruptive manner; the examples listed below with loud chanting and naked people are a clear strawman).

    The author tried to use an argument that allowing the women of the wall was leading down a dangerous path, but only served to highlight his own intolerance and bigotry.

    • MG,

      If you feel that the Western Wall should be open to any and all forms of worship, it only indicates that the Wall means nothing and signifies nothing to you.

  • Simon

    I’d take the Baal worshippers over the unemployed stone-throwing parasites any day. You’re not doing anyone any favors by wearing your hatred for all Jews who don’t live and think exactly like you on your sleeve like this.