The Jewish-American comedian Sarah Silverman joined Women of the Wall, the multidenominational prayer group, for a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the Jewish holy site this evening.
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Her sister, Susan Silverman, is a Reform rabbi who lives in Jerusalem and an active member of the women’s organization. The comedian’s niece was featured in a special bus poster campaign in Jerusalem urging young girls to hold their bat-mitzvah ceremonies at the Western Wall.
Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Western Wall rabbi who is in charge of protocol at the site, rejected a request by Women of the Wall to erect a large candelabra in the women’s section, similar to the one in the men’s section, so that they could hold their own separate candle lighting ceremony.
Organization activists decided that they would bring their own Hanukkah menorahs from home and hold a joint candle-lighting ceremony tonight at the Western Wall. But when they arrived at the entrance to the holy site, their menorahs were confiscated at the security checkpoint. Only when a leader of the organization called police to complain where the menorahs returned.