Procedure for the Use of Musical Instruments and shofars (ram’s horns) at the Western Wall

Background:

According to the Protection of Jewish Holy Places Regulations, 5741-1981, it is prohibited to make a speech, make public announcements, or carry banners or signs, without permission from the Commissioner and according to his conditions, and to eat, drink or hold celebrations outside the places designated by the Commissioner.

Sometimes, visitors and worshippers wish to bring into the (upper and/or lower) Western Wall plaza musical instruments and/or shofars (ram’s horns), especially at bar-mitzvah ceremonies, in order to play them and celebrate the event for which they have brought them. The use of musical instruments and shofars can cause a significant disturbance to other worshippers, especially during the reading of the Torah. The weekdays on which the Torah is read are characterized by a large number of bar-mitzvah ceremonies and reading of the Torah. The bar-mitzvah boys, the family members and other people celebrating are close to one another and close to the women’s plaza, in order to allow the women of the family and their other women guests to listen to the reading of the Torah. Musical instruments and shofars that are played loudly and are used for the celebrations disturb and prevent others from hearing the reading of the Torah and may also lead to conflicts between the various groups.

Against this background, the following procedure has been laid down:

 

Procedure:

Pursuant to my authority under section 4 of the Protection of Jewish Holy Places Regulations, 5741-1981, and after consulting the Minister of Religious Services and the Chief Rabbis of Israel, I hereby enact the following regulations.

No person may bring musical instruments and/or shofars into the Western Wall plaza or make use of such instruments in the lower or upper Western Wall plaza without permission from the Commissioner and subject to the conditions that he will prescribe. Bringing a shofar into the Western Wall plaza and sounding it is permitted for prayer purposes, starting from the first of Ellul until the end of Yom Kippur and on Independence Day, fast days and special prayer events according to the determination of the Commissioner.

Sounding a trumpet is permitted at ceremonies of the Israel Defense Forces and at special events according to the determination of the Commissioner.

 

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz

Rabbi of the Western Wall and Commissioner of the Holy Places, who is in charge of the Western Wall and its plaza

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