The Kotel of My Dreams


The Kotel of My Dreams by Dina Ocken

Artist’s Statement: As an observant and egalitarian Jewish girl, when I have access to pray every morning, it is my preference to wear a tallit and to wrap tefillin. At the Kotel however, which is considered one of—if not the—holiest site for Jews, women are not allowed to follow such practices. Women of the Wall is a group of women who every month go and do exactly what I yearn to do; they go to the holiest site in my religion and practice my religion the way I want to. When I went last spring to the Kotel to participate in Women of the Wall, there was so much hatred between those women and the ultra-Orthodox community. In my painting, however, there is no barrier between the two groups, and both are free to pray at the exact same wall in whichever way they prefer, because at the Kotel of my dreams, everyone is together, and people are brought together by their love of Judaism and prayer.
Dina Ocken is in the class of 2021 at The Beacon School, a public high school in New York City. She loves ultimate frisbee, math, and science and has a passion for working with kids on the autism spectrum. She hopes to be a doctor someday and spends as much time as she can shadowing an OB-GYN in labor and delivery at the local hospital.