Sarah Silverman’s Sister Arrested for Religious Activism in Israel

by Sarah Fonder

Turns out Sarah Silverman’s not the only one in her family who likes to make waves– her sister, Rabbi Susan Silverman, got arrested in Jerusalem for a protest on religious rights on Monday. In a demonstration for civil rights group Women of the Wall, Silverman and nine other women prayed in traditional men’s clothes in the women’s section of the Western Wall. As the last remaining section of King Solomon’s Temple, the Western Wall is incredibly holy land governed by old, strict laws, one of which bans women from wearing “male” garments such as prayer shawls. This is one of many examples of Orthodox government in Israel, and groups like Women of the Wall have been fighting to end its strong influence for several years.

After their altercation with the police, the Women of the Wall were asked to move their prayers to Robinson’s Arch, a less famous location that the group regards as less holy. They were quick to point out a contradiction between the antiquated laws of the Wall and Israeli civil law, which guarantees freedom of religious expression. Silverman comments on the all too potent influence of Orthodoxy with a particularly choice quote:

“When a small group of people — in this case Orthodox men — believe that they hold the truth, that is idolatry,” she told GlobalPost. “They may not be holding an idol in their hands but they are holding it in their minds.”

Seems like Silverman and the brave Women of the Wall know exactly what they’re doing. Hopefully, after decades of civil tension, these sorts of peaceful events will bring some much needed progress to Jerusalem.

Source and image: Salon

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