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Thousands Stream to the Traditional Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) at the Western Wall Plaza This Morning

Thousands came to the Western Wall Plaza beginning in the early-morning hours and participated in the traditional, festive Birkat Kohanim event that took place this morning (Wednesday) at the Western Wall Plaza with hundreds of kohanim from around Israel.

Birkat Kohanim at the Western Wall has been a reinstituted tradition for the past 50 years.
The event is marked by excitement, hope, and prayer, as it says in Chronicles II (30, 27), “And the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came to His holy habitation, to heaven.”

Birkat Kohanim was reintroduced about 50 years ago by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gafner zz”l and has been run by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation on the Intermediate days of Pesach and Sukkot when hundreds of kohanim bless the thousands of people present using the special blessing from the Torah. In order to prevent crowding and in accordance with regulations, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation divided Birkat Kohanim into two separate events this year, on consecutive days.

Birkat Kohanim took place in the presence of Chief Rabbi David Lau, Rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites – Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Israel Police Rabbi Rami Birchiyahu, and former US ambassador to Israel, Mr. David Friedman.

At the end of the prayers, Rabbi Lau and Rabbi Rabinowitz led prayers of “Acceptance of G-d’s Reign” and prayers for the welfare of the Jewish nation and the world.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, said, “Birkat Kohanim written in the Torah contains a promise to protect us from harm and for peace for Israel. This is especially relevant now when the Jewish nation needs faith, security, safety, and health.”

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation would like to remind the public that another Birkat Kohanim will take place tomorrow, Thursday, the 2nd day of Chol Hamoed, in the same format, so that people who were not able to come today can participate tomorrow.


The Western Wall Heritage Foundation requests that the public abide by directions of the Health Ministry, the Israel Police, and the Western Wall ushers who will direct crowds throughout the holiday.