Sarah Silverman's sister and niece were arrested at Jerusalem's sacred Western Wall on Sunday, The Jerusalem Post reports. Silverman's sister, Rabbi Susan Silverman, and her daughter, Hallel, were detained along with eight other women for wearing tallitot, prayer shawls worn by Orthodox Jewish men.
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The women were part of the group Women of the Wall, an organization that visits the site each month wearing traditional male religious garb to protest the orthodox control of the holy site. Reports indicate that anywhere between 150 to 300 people took part in the demonstration Sunday, during which Women of the Wall's founder Anat Hoffman was also arrested.
The arrests occurred during a monthly service featuring veterans from the 1967 Six Day War who fought at the Western Wall. "It's unacceptable that the police are stopping women from wearing tallitot; it's like Iran. I can't believe they are stopping people from praying in one certain way or another," said Ilon Bartov, a paratrooper who fought in 1967.
Sarah Silverman also voiced her support for her family, tweeting: "SO proud of my amazing sister @rabbisusan & niece @purplelettuce95 for their ballsout civil disobedience. Ur the tits! #womenofthewall"
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In 2003, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that worshippers at the Wall must "uphold the customs" of the site, which means women are forbidden from reading the Torah, wearing male prayer shawls or singing loudly.
"I was proud to take a stand for something I believe in. There is inequality at the Western Wall," Hallel Silverman, 17, told the New York Daily News. "The space allowed for women is becoming smaller and smaller. If the law is changed, I will be proud to have played a small part. ... The rules are outdated. It's 2013 and we've moved on. It's time the law moved on too."
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