Category Archives: Old City/Wailing Wall News

Thousands gather to pray for recovery of Rabbi Chaim Ovadia Yosef

Tens of thousands of people were crowded at the Wailing Wall Sunday night in an organized prayer session for Rabbi Chaim Ovadia Yosef, one of the greatest Jewish spiritual leaders of our time who is hospitalized in serious condition. Reports estimated there were 30,000 people present! Many great leaders came to join in the prayers, and the heart-rending wails and cries of those praying could be heard throughout the Wailing Wall plaza. Here is a picture of the men’s side (as originally posted on Yeshiva World News).

The night before Yom Kippur at the Western Wall

This picture was taken at 11:00pm at the Western Wall the night before Yom Kippur. It was standing room only. The policeman actually told me I had to get up from the side of the stairs; I wasn’t allowed to sit there because it would cause a traffic jam eventually. It’s apparently become the “in” thing in Israel to come to the Western Wall for the Selichos (special penitential prayers) that take place during the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It’s unbelievable. It looked like people were actually throwing on a scarf and a skirt and coming straight from the beach in Tel Aviv to come to the Western Wall. It was awe-inspiring that people from all faiths – every Tom, Dudu and David was there. It’s an amazing pull that the Western Wall has and it’s getting stronger and stronger.

I’ve noticed that people are in exceptionally good moods around Israel. People are very helpful, very kind. Everyone has been giving blessings to each other. We’re all G-d’s people and connected. When we hurt each other we’re really hurting ourselves. You hit another person, you’re really hitting yourself – spiritually.
I think people are feeling this a little bit more and more, and they’re feeling the pull of the light of the Western Wall. You can see in this one picture. I don’t know if it’s close enough,
but there are two white birds nestled into the crevices of one of the rocks of the Western Wall – one looking left, the other looking right. It almost reminds me of the two cherubim that were on top of the Ark. They’re there every night – just like that; they don’t move. It gives me comfort to see them.

Wherever you are, you should feel the pleasure and the light emanating from this amazing place. We’re there with you whenever you need.

Hour Long Psalm Prayer Session Today for Peace in Israel!


Just an hour after this picture was taken at noon this afternoon, the Churva synagogue was filled to the brim with school boys and neighbourhood residents all called together to recite psalms for more than an hour, in lieu of the potential strike by Syria and our enemies.

On the other side of the city, hundreds stood in line for hours, unsuccessfully trying to get their gas masks just as a precaution in the event of a strike.

Meanwhile, all was quiet and serene at the Western Wall. kotel

People are always in a good mood and easily taken into a talk about spirituality here.

The month of Elul is in the air. We jump from Torah class to class, each with another idea about what is the best thing to try and fix in our character traits and Divine service in the last few days we have left until judgment day (Rosh Hashanah).

I sat at the Western Wall this morning and in business-like fashion, wrote out a list of all the possible things I could have done wrong this year, and all of the possible people I could have wronged this year. As I spoke aloud what I did and that I was truly sorry for it and never wanted to do it again, I crossed it off and went to the next, making sure to feel that it impacted my heart. I then went home and wrote a very difficult apology letter to a person I knew was upset at me (even though I quite honestly felt that I was the one who should be getting an apology). I attempted to get into her head-space and justify her, even if I technically did not have to.

When my kids got nervous today after their prayer session, I said they could take comfort in doing one thing to make shalom (peace) between them and each other in our home, so the Holy One will emulate us and make peace with our enemies.

I implore each one of you who reads this to do the same. Do one act to make peace with another person who feels either that you have wronged them, or forgive someone who you feel has wronged you. Even if you are right. Do it for the sake of the peace of the world. Making peace is greater than doing repentance. Maybe it will be in your merit.

With blessings from Jerusalem,

Southern Gate of the Wall Light Show


Here is the promised pic. Picture opera music and flashing lights changing colors from one moment to the next just under the Mt. of Olives.

At the Wall itself, all was untouched, but above and beyond there were a few good light tricks to see. I didn’t have my camera with me then, but there were projected spiders crawling on cob-webs around Jaffa gate and the Christian quarter. The Cardo ceiling was filled with light mosaics and I heard they were playing some movies in Zilberman’s square, commonly known as the Old Square.  Most importantly there were lots of portable lights for sale, popcorn, cotton candy and Rabbis with guitars singing about… G-d and coming close of course.

Mayor Nir Barkat brought the Formula One race to Jerusalem for the first time ever. The race cars ran the track on the other side of the walls of the Old City (by Jaffa gate). There was one day (last Thursday) when the light show and the Formula One race overlapped. Neighbourhood kids tried to hide in their homes to avoid trampling :-). But seriously, it was not as bad as expected. Of course no Old City kids could actually get to school by bus, or catch sight of the cars without waiting for 3 hours. So we all viewed it as a kind of snowed in day.
When an inch of snow falls in Jerusalem – the entire city comes to a stop! Growing up in Toronto this experience is very comical to me. Everyone is unprepared, excited and shocked – like a deer in the headlights. They scatter to try to build something with the snow before it melts away within hours.

I felt like each country and city had at least one representative here in the Old City last week! My kids even got a present from a random tourist from Mongolia. People DO live there I guess! And everyone has one thing in common – they view this tiny place as holy and the place where G-d chose to be out of hiding :-).


Old City Light Show

The annual light show is visiting the Old City again. Thousands of tourists are crowding the streets looking for colorful light displays, and a bit of sci-fi meets the ancient life. These creative light flying dolphins are hovering over Jaffa gate, just outside the Old City. I was impressed! We hope it will inspire some people to make it to the Wall to pray, when they otherwise would not have. An opera music and light projection show is happening at the Southern Gate of the Wall. I will try to get you a video or picture. :-) :-)