Over 20,000 people attended the first central selichot service of the year at the Western Wall on Thursday night, according to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.
The foundation called on the public to come to services earlier in the month in order to spread out the crowds and protect the health and safety of visitors to the site.
This is the first year since 2019 that selichot prayers have been conducted at the Western Wall without special coronavirus regulations.
Stones of the Western Wall inspected ahead of the High Holidays
Last week, the stones of the Western Wall were inspected ahead of the selichot prayers and the upcoming High Holy Days.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation inspects the stones of the wall twice per year: once before Passover and once before Rosh Hashanah.
The inspection team checked each stone's stability and level of upkeep and was halachically supervised by the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, in collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority.