update deskJewish & Israeli Holidays

50,000 receive Priestly Blessing at Western Wall

Due to high demand, the Birkat Kohanim service is being held twice this year.

Jews pack the area in front of Jerusalem’s Western Wall for the Birkat Kohanim Priestly Blessing during Sukkot, Oct. 8, 2017. Photo by Yaakov Lederman/Flash90.
Jews pack the area in front of Jerusalem’s Western Wall for the Birkat Kohanim Priestly Blessing during Sukkot, Oct. 8, 2017. Photo by Yaakov Lederman/Flash90.

Tens of thousands of Jews converged on the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Monday for Sukkot holiday prayers, including the Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing).

Due to the high demand, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation is this year holding the Birkat Kohanim service twice. The second will be held on Wednesday.

Some 50,000 people attended Monday’s services.

Among those participating were Israeli Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef; Israel Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau; Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites Shmuel Rabinowitz; and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.

The Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall dates back to 1931 and is traditionally held twice a year, during the intermediary days of Passover and Sukkot.

During the prayer, all kohanim present bless the entire congregation of Israel: “May the Lord bless you, and keep you; May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; May the Lord lift up His face to you, and give you peace.”

Sukkot prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Oct. 2, 2023. Photo by Kobi Natan/TPS.
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