Thousands attend Selichot prayers at Western Wall despite coronavirus

Penitential prayer services begin every night at 12:30 a.m. with a central event led by a cantor in order to allow all the capsules to pray together.

Selichot at the Western Wall, August 2020 (photo credit: THE WESTERN WALL HERITAGE FOUNDATION)
Selichot at the Western Wall, August 2020
(photo credit: THE WESTERN WALL HERITAGE FOUNDATION)
Thousands of worshipers have visited the Western Wall in recent days to recite the Selichot penitential prayers, said in the days or weeks leading up to the High Holidays, while following coronavirus regulations at the site.
In most years, the plaza is filled to capacity with worshipers from Israel and around the world during the Selichot prayers. However, due to coronavirus regulations, only 2,000 people in capsules of 30 are able to pray at the site at a time.
Selichot services begin every night at 12:30 a.m. with a central event led by a cantor in order to allow all the capsules to pray together. Worshipers are advised to come before the week before Rosh Hashanah, when heavy crowds are expected. If the plaza is full, no additional worshipers will be allowed entry.
Selichot at the Western Wall, August 2020 (Credit: The Western Wall Heritage Foundation)Selichot at the Western Wall, August 2020 (Credit: The Western Wall Heritage Foundation)
"The sight of thousands of people streaming to the Western Wall Plaza at night during this special week is an unforgettable experience," said the Western Wall Foundation in a statement. "The power of the connection between the Jewish nation and the Western Wall becomes particularly apparent during these special days in which people need prayers for healing and are doing the soul searching and introspection customary at this time of year."
Selichot, prayers for forgiveness, are recited by Ashkenazi Jews for the week before Rosh Hashanah until the day before Yom Kippur, and by Mizrahi Jews from the beginning of the month of Elul until Yom Kippur.
The prayers center around the recital of the 13 attributes of God's mercy given to Moshe at Mount Sinai, petitioning God for forgiveness.