Every year at the Western Wall Plaza, on chol hamoed Sukkot and Passover, the exciting Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) event takes place in the presence of hundreds of kohanim and thousands of Jews from Israel and around the world. The Birkat Kohanim event was reestablished by Rabbi Mendel Gafner zz”l about fifty years ago, in 5731. Since then, every year, this sacred ceremony has taken place at the Western Wall, with hundreds of kohanim blessing the public and thousands streaming to the plaza to be blessed.
Last year on Passover, the Birkat Kohanim event was held in a limited and unusual format, with only ten kohanim, due to coronavirus restrictions. The event was broadcast on media outlets around the world. At the beginning of 5781, Birkat Kohanim during Sukkot took place with dozens of kohanim who were residents of the Jewish Quarter, and with almost no public.
With praise and gratitude to G-d, this Passover, kohanim from around Israel will be allowed to participate in the traditional event and bless the Jewish people, in accordance with regulations.
The event will be an exciting one of unity and gratitude for the improvement we are witnessing in the battle with the coronavirus.
The decision was reached this year to split Birkat Kohanim into two separate events on consecutive days in order to limit crowding, as people from all around Israel are expected to arrive.
The events will take place on Monday, 16 Nissan (March 29th) and on Tuesday, 17 Nissan (March 30th).
The eventes will take place between 8:45-10:30am.
As in previous years, the events this year will take place in the presence of the chief rabbis of Israel, Rabbi Yosef and Rabbi Lau, the rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, Rabbi Rabinowitz, as well as the minister for religious affairs, Rabbi Yaakov Avitan and the mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Moshe Leon.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation requests that people plan to come to only one of the two events so that all those who wish to participate can do so within the limits of the Western Wall Plaza’s capacity.
This year as well, there will be a Live broadcast. A separate announcement on this will follow.