Officials began removing notes from the Western Wall on Sunday in the lead-up to Rosh Hashanah, in order to make space for new notes to be placed in the new year.
More than 20,000 notes from 100 countries were sent from abroad to the Western Wall over the past six months, with the US, Brazil, Canada, and Colombia among the top ten countries.
The process of removal is carried out according to halachic instructions, using gloves and disposable wooden tools.
The notes are collected in bags and then buried together with worn-out sacred books in a Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, accompanied the removal personally and recited a prayer for the unity of the Jewish people and for the thousands of visitors who placed their prayers between the stones.
"May this year and its curses end, and may the new year and its blessings begin - grant peace to the land, peace and unity is our common request. We are confident that from this place, where the Divine Presence has never moved, the Blessed be He hears the prayers of all of us from the land and from the diaspora, and the requests that arrive here will ascend on high and bring with them to the coming year - a year of unity, joy, and hope," said Rabinowitz at the dedication.
An old, but not ancient tradition
The custom of placing notes in the Western Wall has been documented for about three hundred years, as far back as the writings of the Or HaChaim HaKadosh.
Prayer notes are placed throughout the length of the Western Wall, and they can also be found among the layers that were exposed in the Western Wall Tunnels.
If you want to send a note to the Western Wall it can be done at their website: thekotel.org/en/send-a-note/