For the week ending 10 March 2007 / 20 Adar I 5767

"Shooting" at the Kotel

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: On a recent visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem I was anxious to photograph a particular person who seemed to fit in so well with the sacred wall as a background. He signaled to me, however, that he objected to my doing so. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: You certainly should respect the refusal of someone to be photographed and to refrain from attempting to do so surreptitiously.

The reason for his objection may be on metaphysical grounds or simply because he desires privacy. Whatever his reason it is certainly not fair to ignore it.

While we are on the subject of cameras at the Kotel, it should be mentioned that the modern culture of "Harry, shoot me at the Kotel" transforms this holy site into some sort of tourist attraction that must be photographed rather than a serious place of prayer.

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