As the new Egyptian Constitution passed its first go-around yesterday in a national referendum that non-Islamist parties acknowledge threatens civil liberties and the rights of women and minorities, we Jews have our own conflict with the encroaching influence of fundamentalist religion against the rights of Jewish women to pray at the holiest site in Judaism, the Kotel (i.e. Western Wall).

Two years ago I attended a prayer service at the Kotel with “Women of the Wall” on Rosh Hodesh (The new Hebrew month), which this group of religious women have been doing for a number of years. I reported on that event then which can be read here – http://womenofthewall.org.il/2010/11/praying-with-the-women-of-the-wall/.

That constitutes among the ugliest experiences in my Jewish religious life.

The issue of Jewish women’s religious rights at the Kotel has only intensified in this time. Media Line reported fully on the events of the past week at the Kotel

WOMEN DETAINED AT JERUSALEM’S WESTERN WALL FOR DONNING RELIGIOUS ITEMS http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=36697

The ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate of the Kotel claim that these women are desecrating God’s name by donning tallitot and t’filin and praying quietly at the Western Wall in a group. But who is the real desecrater of the Holy Name? Certainly not these women!