Recently I have read a few different posts from various "Women of the Wall" about how ultra-orthodox Jews in Jerusalem, known as "Haredi" in Hebrew, have continuously upped the ante for Jewish women who want to pray at the "Wailing Wall" using such traditionally male accoutrements as the fringed shawl ("tallit") or skullcap ("kippah"). The strongest of them is this one by Dana Braunstein.
Far be it from me, a Reform Jew raised in a pretty much secular family, to defend orthodoxy’s intransigence. But I think that part of the reason why Orthodox Jews consider religiosity a “one-way street,” as Braunstein puts it, has to do with the basic conundrum of monotheism: If there is only one God, then who is responsible for evil? Answer: I am (pun intended).
Just as Braunstein so eloquently defends a heterogeneous Judaism as the “truest” kind, a Jew who believes powerfully in the Sh’ma, the central prayer of Judaism affirming God's essential oneness, will probably feel just as strongly that any deviation from Jewish law (as she sees it) risks the ultimate destruction of the world.
I don’t think it’s possible, or even necessarily useful, to try to arm-twist the Haredi into believing that it’s OK for some Jews to break traditional dietary laws by serving bagels, cream cheese and chicken fingers at a post-service luncheon (as my temple’s kitchen once did). But Israel does not exist as just an aspiration anymore. It is a nation of laws. The opposition to the Women of the Wall belongs more rightly to politics than theology, and as such it should be dealt with politically.
In a democracy, my right to move my fist ends where your nose begins. Anyone creating a ruckus at the Wall – not by being female and praying with a tallit, but by throwing hard-boiled eggs or screaming at the top of your lungs to drown out someone else’s prayers – should be taken into custody and charged appropriately.
Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future - also, I believe, due to politics. Since the birth of the Jewish State, Haredi political parties have been kingmakers in every election. Although Jewish culture encourages both long memories and patience in awaiting deliverance, it's a hard time to be Jewish and tolerant right now.