JERUSALEM (RNS) — Women of the Wall, a controversial Jewish pluralistic women’s prayer group that has long fought for the right to pray in the women’s section of the Western Wall using a Torah scroll, has faced a daunting amount of backlash from fervently religious Jews who see the Western Wall as a strictly Orthodox synagogue.

During the 31 years the group has existed, some ultra-Orthodox Jews have thrown rocks, eggs and water bottles, cursed and spat at the women, many of whom pray in prayer shawls, kippot and phylacteries — ritual items once reserved only for men.

But the group and its mostly American supporters were still shocked when a prominent Jerusalem official recently called on the Orthodox public to drown out Women of

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