Group gathers, prays at Israeli consulate

Concerned over how women and girls are treated in Israel, a group of 18 women and one man gathered in front of the Israeli consulate in San Francisco Feb. 23 for a Rosh Chodesh prayer ceremony.

The group marked the monthly observance by reading from the Women’s Torah, the first Torah scribed and embellished entirely by women, which has been on tour in the Bay Area. The gathering began at 11 a.m. in front of the consulate on Montgomery Street in the Financial District.

Organizers said they were inspired by Anat Hoffman, the Israeli feminist-activist who suggested that women hold Rosh Chodesh rallies at Israeli consulates in order to raise awareness about women in Israel who are discriminated against at the Western Wall.

The group expressed its concerns — about the restrictions on women at the Kotel and gender segregation on Israeli buses — in writing to Akiva Tor, the Consul General of Israel for the Pacific Northwest region.