Always a nice change to hear some good news from Israel.
TLDR: The Western Wall in Jerusalem (often called the “Wailing Wall” by non-Jews) is considered the holiest site in Judaism and is always crowded with pray-ers. Since Israel conquered the area in 1967, the Wall has been under the control of ultra-Orthodox authorities who have insisted that all religious activities there be conducted according to the rules of their particular sect. Most germanely, this required men and women to be physically separated from each other, and required women to refrain from singing, reading from Torah scrolls or praying aloud. Women were also not permitted to wear prayer shawls and phylacteries, traditionally worn by men during prayer. Most religious Jews outside Israel consider these rules to be archaic and irrelevant to modern people.
After years of protests mainly by a group called Women of the Wall, the government has decided to open a portion of the Wall to Jews who want to pray in mixed-gendered groups and don’t object to hearing women’s voices or letting them wear what they want. Ultra-Orthodox rabbis are responding with predictable hysteria.
I looked for, but couldn’t find, a thread about this from a few years back in which most posters seemed to feel that the protestors were misguided and that there was no chance they would ever be successful. So, a big Nelson Muntz HA-ha to y’all, and congratulations to these courageous women and their male supporters for forcing the Israeli establishment to recognize the reality of diverse religious practices among Jews.