Progressive groups in Israel have spoken out against the arrest of a woman for attempting to read from the Torah at the Western Wall.
Police in Jerusalem brought Anat Hoffman in for questioning after she was found with the scroll at the time of morning prayers, in violation of a Supreme Court ruling requiring women to pray from the Torah at an alternative site.
It follows the arrest of another Israeli woman in 2009 for wearing a tallit and a kippah while carrying a Torah scroll at the Western Wall. Both acts have drawn fire from Israel’s strictly Orthodox groups.
Gay Jewish couples could soon be allowed to marry in synagogue after religious groups including Liberal Judaism and several Anglican bishops have lent their support to a relaxation of a ban.
An amendment to the Equality Bill is expected to be debated in the Lords next month to pave the way for the registration of civil ceremonies for gay couples in churches, synagogues and other religious premises.
The scheduled opening of JCoSS (the Jewish Community Secondary School) next year has generated unprecedented interest. Adorned with the slogan “excellence, choice, openness, inclusion”, its website describes it as “the first cross-communal Jewish secondary school in the UK”. JCoSS takes pride in its admissions policy, which “will treat on an equal basis all pupils recognised as Jewish by any of the UK’s mainstream movements” and its intention to deliver Jewish studies “while being non-judgemental between the various mainstream Jewish traditions”.