Liberals take stand

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 4, 2011

A group of women from the Liberal Jewish Community in Manchester are fighting for Jerusalem's Women of the Wall and are taking a stand for their own community's right to exist.

Manchester's newly inaugurated Liberal Jewish Community, the first such in the North West, is holding a Friday night service tonight which will protest against an Israeli ban on women being able to sing and read the Torah at Jerusalem's Western Wall.

The service will take place at Cross Street Chapel in central Manchester.

In 2003 Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the musical women's services at the Wall disrupted public order.

Phyllis Alden, treasurer of the Manchester community, said they wanted "to take a stand" in Manchester and support Israeli activists who have been arrested for defying the ban.

She said: "People who subscribe to Orthodoxy are entitled to their views, but so are we. I'm not trying to be inflammatory, but in Manchester the Orthodox are strongly against our community existing". She claimed that when her members tried to put notices in Jewish delicatessens, the owners declined, saying it would upset Orthodox shoppers.

Cheshire Reform Congregation's Rabbi Brian Fox said he supported the Liberal women.

But Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz, of the Orthodox Yeshurun Synagogue in Cheadle, said he could not condone congregations which promoted "falsehoods" about Orthodox Judaism.

He said: "These are well-intentioned people, but Orthodoxy can't agree with something that presents itself as Judaism, but disregards Jewish law."

Last updated: 10:33am, February 4 2011