Eileen & Ellery’s Fabulous Adventures in Israel #6: Jerusalem, The Western Wall (The Kotel)…

Followers of my blog know that The Kotel is the most exciting place in Israel for me to visit. This is our second visit to The Wall on this trip. Wish we could have visited more often, but sometimes life gets in the way.

A little history about The Wall for those of you who do not know or understand it’s significance to Jews throughout the world. The Wall is open 24/7 and 365 days a year. It is known in Hebrew as Ha-Kotel Ha-Ma’aravi.. The Western Wall,  dates back over 2,000 years and marks the western edge of the Temple Mount and is a surviving remnant of the Temple Mount. As part of the retaining wall of the Temple Mount, it was built by Herod the Great during his expansion of the Temple in 20 BC. The wall became the Jews’ chief place of pilgrimage during the Ottoman Period. This is  where they mourned the destruction of the temple by the hands of the Romans in AD 70. For this reason it has also become known as the “Wailing Wall”.

The plaza in front of the Wall is divided by a fence, with a large area for men on the left and a smaller area for women on the right. Anyone is allowed to approach the wall as long as their heads are covered, behave appropriately (I know, that’s hard for me), and dress appropriately. The wall acts as an outdoor synagogue with written prayers inserted into the crevices between the large stones. You can see these notes in some of our images below. On Friday night at sundown there is the welcoming of the Sabbath  which includes prayers, singing and dancing. Hopefully one day we’ll get there to observe this welcoming service.

Photography is allowed at The Wall except on the Sabbath and other holy days. It is a wonderful opportunity to shoot. Below are some images from our last visit.

Reminder: Click on one of the images below to begin the slide show.

8 thoughts on “Eileen & Ellery’s Fabulous Adventures in Israel #6: Jerusalem, The Western Wall (The Kotel)…

  1. Fantastic shots from you both, thanks so much for sharing. The sepia images are particularly appealing. And what’s the story on the guy at the book shelf?

  2. Such history! I’ve been reading Nehemiah and how he led the captives to rebuild the wall after the years of captivity in Babylon. Symbolic of the breaches in our own ‘walls’ when the enemy has access. 🙂

  3. Thanks as always Dan…The shot of the Hassid praying by the bookshelf was taken in an area of the wall that is covered to protect from inclement weather and also so that prayer books can be stored for people to use. I also like the sepia toned images.

  4. Ellery, having been there myself 13 years ago, I’ve long wondered about the origins of the fast paced repetitive bowing I saw at the Western Wall. It seemed like it was a widespread tradition but I didn’t have a clue. Enlighten me, please?

    • Jewish prayer is often referred to as ‘davening’ a Yiddish word. The swaying is called ‘shoklen’. This is usually done by the very orthodox Jews and is optional but most engage in it.

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