Over 100 Women of the Wall prayed in the Western Wall’s women section this morning to welcome the new Jewish month of Iyar. The women succeeded in entering the Kotel with a Torah scroll, despite the local regulation prohibiting this act.

The scroll, over 250 years old, originally from Germany, was brought from Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Canada for the express purpose of a women’s Torah reading at the holy site. Before the women were able to read from the Torah, police officers who had been ‘monitoring’ the prayer service all morning rushed prayer leader and Women of the Wall board member Tammy Gottlieb, attempting to take the scroll from her hands. The other women surrounded Gottlieb closely, to keep the Torah safe. The officers were then told to retreat.

The prayer service continued and included a Torah reading and the Priestly Blessing. Adv. Riki Shapira-Rosenberg, Women of the Wall board member said, “The Priestly Blessing is an integral part of the Rosh Hodesh prayer service. This prayer service is unequivocally included in the local custom (as defined by the Jerusalem District Court in 2013) and the Priestly Blessing is included in that.”