Events at the Kotel during the High Holiday Season
Children from Tel Aviv Visit Jerusalem
Thanks to the generosity of the Zusman family, over 3,000 seventh graders from Tel Aviv visited Jerusalem on September 27th. The children, who came to Jerusalem to mark their Bar and Bat Mitzvah year, visited significant sites in the Old City. They completed their day with a festive ceremony at the Western Wall at which each student received a gift – "The Jerusalem Covenant".
Over the course of the year, many ceremonies take place at the Western Wall Plaza. The ceremonies for recruits and officers of the Israel Defense Forces are some of the most moving to watch. During this past week, ceremonies for anti-aircraft recruits and graduates from an officer' course took place.
You can watch and hear the ceremonies live on our cameras.
Slichot (Penitential Prayers)
Slichot (Penitential Prayers) are recited throughout the month of Elul, the Hebrew month preceding the High Holidays during which we ask forgiveness and make amends. The sounds of these prayers and of shofar blowing signal the arrival of the holidays.
At the Western Wall Plaza, slichot are said at 12:30 a.m. and later, starting at 4:00 a.m.
The High Holidays
What could be more inspiring and significant than praying during the holiest days of the Jewish year at the holiest site to the Jewish nation?
During the High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, masses of worshippers converge upon the Western Wall to pray at the Temple’s remnant.
Out of respect for the holiness of the Jewish Shabbat and festivals, the Kotel cameras do not operate on the Sabbath or on festival days.
In honor of the holidays, Wilson's Arch synagogue will be reopened to the public following extensive renovations.
Mass Slichot Services during Aseret Yemei Tshuva
On Monday, October 10th, thousands of children from all around Israel will come with their parents to a joint "slichot" service in Jerusalem as part of the MiBreshit Organization’s children's activities. The evening will begin with various activities and street theater in the Old City. At 10:45 p.m., the group will gather at the Western Wall Plaza for singing and inspirational words given by MiBreshit director, Rav Motti Eilon. Slichot services will begin with the children at 11:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, October 11th, at 11:30 p.m., there will be a mass slichot service held in the presence of President Moshe Katzav, the former Rishon LeZion Rav Ovadia Yossef, Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger, and the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz.
The service will be broadcast live via the Kotel cameras.
Succot – The Feast of Tabernacles
Succot is one of the three festivals during which Jews made pilgrimages to the Temple every year. During the days of the Temple, the Jewish of Jerusalem would host the thousands of pilgrims in their succot.
You are also invited to join the thousands of present-day pilgrims and be hosted at the Succah that will be built on the Western Wall Plaza for visitors.
Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Benediction)
Birkat Kohanim is an exciting event that takes place twice a year during the intermediate days of Succot and Passover. Thousands of Kohanim (descendants of the priestly tribe) join together in one voice to bless the Jewish nation.
Birkat Kohanim will be taking place this year on Thursday, October 20th and will be broadcast live on our cameras. Shacharit, morning services, begin at 8:15 a.m. Birkat Kohanim will be at about 9:00 a.m. and then again at about 10:00 a.m.
After tfila, prayer services, there will be a festive reception in the Kotel succa in the presence of Israel’s chief rabbis and the rabbi of the Western Wall.
The seventh day of Succot is called Hoshana Rabbah. Traditionally, Jews spend the entire night beforehand learning torah. On this day, Monday, October 24th, there will be an early morning “vatikin” prayer service at the Western Wall at 4:30 a.m.
For generations, Simchat Torah has been celebrated at the Kotel with prayer and dancing. You are invited to come on the eve of Simchat Torah and the next morning to dance with the worshippers celebrating the end and the beginning of yet another Jewish cycle of reading Torah portions.
We, at the Western Wall Heritage Foundation,
wish you and yours a healthy, peaceful, and fulfilling year.
We hope to see you here at the Western Wall during this holiday season.
If you can't make it this year, we hope you enjoy reaching the Kotel
through our Kotel cameras.
We thank you for helping us bring the Kotel to the world.
May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy New Year!