The Bar Mitzvah's in the Western wall September 17th are dedicatedto the honor (zechut) of Raymond Diwan's Bar mitzvah
“May the New Year and its blessings begin”: This is how the removal of prayer notes from the between the Western Wall stones looks on Erev Rosh Hashana 5781.The holidays of Tishrei will be celebrated amid the coronavirus pandemic in accordance with Health Ministry regulations, but great efforts will be made not to veer away from the site’s customs, albeit with a symbolic and limited number of people.
As is traditional prior to Rosh Hashana, this morning (Wednesday), prayer notes placed between the stones of the Wall were removed, in the shadow of the coronavirus and the subsequent restrictions. The stones of the Wall were also sanitized in order to safeguard the health of visitors to the Western Wall.Prior to Rosh Hashana 5781, this year as well, the custom continued of removing the many prayer notes placed by visitors over the past summer months between the stones of the Wall. Notes were also sent from around the world in various ways. The notes were removed using gloves and disposable wooden tools by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation staff. They were then collected in bags that will be buried along with sacred books for “geniza” on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.Every year, over 40,000 notes are sent digitally via the Western Wall website. Since the eruption of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel, over 15,000 prayer notes have been sent from around the world, about 20% more than the same period last year.Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, who accompanied the removal and sanitization process in person, offered a prayer in honor of the upcoming New Year: “We stand today on the eve of the New Year and pray to the Creator of the Universe that ‘the old year and its curses cease and the New Year and its blessings begin.’ We find great strength and comfort at the Western Wall during times like these, facing the sacred stones that survived hardships and have empowered us with faith that better days are ahead. We pray that He will remove from us the evil decree and we will merit coming to Jerusalem with joy, en masse, and renewing our days as of old.”
Every year, tens of thousands of worshippers visit the Western Wall during the month of Elul for the traditional slichot prayers, especially for the central slichot events on Erev Rosh Hashana, Aseret Yemei Teshuva (the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur), and Erev Yom Kippur. But this year, due to the restrictions, the prayers at the Western Wall will be limited to 2,500 people only.
In order to abide by the required directives and preserve public health, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation decided that entrance during these dates will be with entrance permits chosen by lottery in accordance with regulations, thus preventing unnecessary grief among the many worshippers interested in coming to the Western Wall for slichot who would be disappointed not to be allowed in due to Health Ministry restrictions.Slichot times when entrance will only be allowed with entrance permits:From Thursday night, 21 Elul until (including) Erev Rosh Hashana, 29 Elul (September 10 – 18, 2020), and from Motza’ei Rosh Hashana, 2 Tishrei until (including) Erev Yom Kippur, 9 Tishrei (September 20 – 26, 2020)A total of 13 days of slichot
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Entrance permits for the Western Wall will be for 11pm until 1:30am. Please note that for the rest of the hours of the day, the Western Wall will be open based on availability, as it has been until now. Registration for the lottery will open to the public on the Western Wall Heritage Foundation website at http://www.thekotel.org beginning on today- Thursday (September 3rd) until Sunday (September 6th) at midnight. It will be done by entering complete details including ID or passport numbers. •Anyone can register for any of the above slichot days and can register up to ten people under one name as long as all their relevant information is entered as well. •Each person will have the possibility to win one entrance only for one of the slichot nights.•The lottery will take place on September 7th under the supervision of The Western Wall Heritage Foundation’s lawyer and accountant. The list of people who will receive entrance permits will be publicized on the Foundation’s website. Likewise, announcements will be sent to the winners on Wednesday, September 9th. •Entrance to the Western Wall Plaza will be conditioned on scanning the digital entrance permits along with presentation of each worshipper’s ID card or passport. Children under 7 who appear on the ID card appendix do not require a permit.The Western Wall Heritage Foundation notes that on these days there will be live broadcasts from the Western Wall on the Western Wall website. Whoever cannot physically come to the Western Wall will be able to watch and participate from home.
A delegation led by Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump; Robert O’Brien, United States National Security Advisor; Avi Berkowitz, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations; Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, and other senior American diplomats came to the Western Wall to pray prior to traveling to the United Arab Emirates.The delegation was greeted by Mordechai (Suli) Eliav, Director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, who explained how the Western Wall has been functioning in the shadow of the coronavirus, and how the Western Wall serves as a model for maintaining the routine of prayer and visits while abiding by directives. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall, sent a special letter with Mr. Kushner to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan with blessings from Jerusalem for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation director showed the delegation fascinating findings discovered in archaeological excavations in the Western Wall Tunnels. He also joined them in prayer, prior to the historic flight, for the success of peace with the UAE, for the health of those stricken by the coronavirus in Israel, the United States, and around the world, and with the approach of the Jewish New Year, they prayed for a year of health and blessings for all.
Over the last several days, thousands of people have been coming to the Western Wall, in the shadow of the coronavirus and in accordance with Health Ministry regulations, to recite slichot (penitential prayers) at midnight and in the early-morning hours as is customary among Jews of Edot HaMizrach.
During ordinary days of the month of Elul, the Western Wall Plaza fills to capacity with worshippers from around Israel and the world who recite slichot and prayers en masse and cry out together: “Lord of forgiveness…We have sinned before You. Have mercy upon us.”
Every year, there is a rise in the number of worshippers at the Western Wall during the High Holidays. This year, however, in the shadow of the coronavirus, the plaza will be able to hold about 2,000 people in capsules of 30, in accordance with Health Ministry directives. Please note that entrance will not be allowed if the Western Wall Plaza is full. The public should be aware of this in advance. We recommend coming to the Western Wall in the upcoming days and not wait until the days right before Rosh Hashana or between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur when large crowds of people are anticipated, some of whom will unfortunately be prevented from entering the Western Wall Plaza. The next two weeks will act as a measure for managing slichot services in peak times. The schedule of the central events as well as the live broadcasts will be published soon.The sight of thousands of people streaming to the Western Wall Plaza at night during this special week is an unforgettable experience. The power of the connection between the Jewish nation and the Western Wall becomes particularly apparent during these special days in which people need prayers for healing and are doing the soul-searching and introspection customary at this time of year. Slichot services begin every night at 12:30 at the central event led by a cantor in order to allow for all the worshippers social distancing in the capsules to pray together as one nation with one heart.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation is preparing for Slichot (Penitential Prayers) at the Western Wall in the shadow of the corona pandemic. Planning meetings have taken place with the Health Ministry and Israel Police in order to prepare for the arrival of visitors wishing to come to the Western Wall during the upcoming days of compassion and repentance. The meeting was in the presence of Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites; Mordechai (Suli) Eliav, director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation along with his staff; Brigadier General Roni Numa, Dr. Chani Schroder, and Dr. Zion Schlossberg.Representatives of the Health Ministry were very impressed with operations at the Western Wall Plaza which show how corona routine can be maintained in open areas for the general public.The summary of the meeting was that the first two weeks of the month of Elul will act as a test case for managing Slichot services at the Western Wall prior to the upcoming peak-crowd days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.The Western Wall Heritage Foundation wishes to thank the Health Ministry and the Israel Police for their cooperation for the benefit of visitors to the Western Wall Plaza, and requests that the public continue to abide by the regulations and the instructions of the ushers.In addition – Beginning tomorrow, the sites of the Western Wall Tunnels will be reopened to the public in accordance with the Tav Hasagol restrictions. Pictures attached, credit: The Western Wall Heritage FoundationFrom left to right: Dr. Chani Schroder, Dr. Zion Schlossberg, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, Brigadier General Roni Numa and Mordechai (Suli) Eliav, director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation
In excavations of the Western Wall Tunnels, we find many remnants that offer us a glimpse into the lives of local people in ancient times. The utensil in this photograph was found whole in an archaeological excavation under the pavement of the Western Wall plaza, conducted in conjunction with the Israel Antiquities Authority Educational centers. The excavation is focused now on the later layers from the 18th - 20th centuries CE - the Ottoman and British Mandate periods and during the Jordanian rule of the Old City.
This jag is of the "Grey-Black Gaza Ware" created along the southern coastal plain. It was used for drinking or pouring water or milk.
Minister of Religious Affairs, Rabbi Yaakov Avitan, praying at the Western Wall and touring the new excavations in the Western Wall Tunnels
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Erev Rosh Chodesh (eve of the new month of) Av, on July 21, 2020, Yom Kippur Katan, there will be a special prayer service and recital of slichot (penitential prayers) for the end of pandemic and for livelihood for all of the Jewish people in Israel and around the world, as per the request of leading rabbis.Due to Health Ministry regulations, the prayer service will take place in the presence of only a minyan (quorum) and will be broadcast to communities around Israel and around the world. The event will take place in the presence of the Chief Rabbis of Israel, the Rabbi of the Western Wall, leading rabbis, and the Minister of Religious Affairs.We call upon the public to take part in the prayer service from home via the Western Wall cameras. The service can be watched on the Western Wall website or directly using the following link: https://youtu.be/Dvp8kgCuI-g