JERUSALEM (JTA) – Women of the Wall launched an ad campaign on public buses in Jerusalem to promote bat mitzvah ceremonies at the Western Wall.
Unveiled on Sunday evening, the ads feature Israeli girls aged 11 to 14 wearing a prayer shawl and holding a Torah scroll in front of the Western Wall. The ad reads in Hebrew: “Mom, I too want a bat mitzvah at the Kotel.”
The girls featured in the ads – including Ashira Abramowitz-Silverman, the daughter of Yosef Abramowitz and Rabbi Susan Silverman, and niece of comic Sarah Silverman – have either had a bat mitzvah with Women of the Wall or are planning one.
“The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, overseen by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, runs a lucrative and active industry of Bar Mitzvah celebrations for boys at the Western Wall,” the Women of the Wall said in a statement. “The foundation offers no such ceremony for girls; in fact Rabbi Rabinowitz actively prevents any type of bat mitzvah ceremony for girls by refusing women access to Torah scrolls at the holy site.”
The bus campaign is part of Women of the Wall’s efforts to be allowed to read from a Torah scroll in the women’s section of the Western Wall when they hold their monthly prayer service for Rosh Chodesh, the new month.
The Yerushalmit Movement, a group that aims to make Jerusalem a more pluralistic city, recently began a running a bus advertisement featuring photos of women from Jerusalem pictured from the shoulders up. The women include a mix of secular, modern and haredi Orthodox, and Arab.
Several of the ads already have been vandalized in haredi Orthodox neighborhoods.
The campaign reportedly is the brainchild of Jerusalem City Councilwoman Rachel Azaria, who was not permitted to run ads on buses during her campaign because of bus company fears that their vehicles would be damaged.