The body that oversees activity at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, is expecting to receive tens of thousands of visitors for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, the Heritage Foundation announced in a Wednesday statement.
The holidays, beginning Rosh Hashanah eve will see many thousands of Jewish worshippers coming from both within Israel and abroad to observe Hatarat Nedarim (vow annulment), and then, at midnight, Slihot (penitential prayers).
Many others who are unable to attend in person will be able to view a livestream of the event.
"Tens of thousands have arrived during the month of Elul for the traditional Slihot prayers at the Western Wall Plaza, with the prayer theme 'Grant Peace Among Us,'” the Western Wall Heritage Foundation said. “We encourage the public to attend the Slihot prayers as early as possible during the Ten Days of Repentance.”
Already, many have observed the nightly Slihot prayers at the Western Wall during this Hebrew month of Elul.
The Hebrew month of Elul
Elul, spanning from mid-August and ending in mid-September on Erev Rosh Hashanah, is the final month on the Hebrew calendar and traditionally marks a time of repentance.
The Erev Rosh Hashanah Slihot prayers for Friday midnight are scheduled to commence on Thursday evening.
The main Slihot service for Erev Yom Kippur will be held Saturday night, the 23rd of September.
Additionally, Slihot prayers will be held in city centers all around Israel to accommodate the anticipated flood of worshippers in the country by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the Jerusalem Development Authority, and various local authorities.
“Tens of thousands have arrived during the month of Elul for the traditional Slihot services at the Western Wall Plaza, marked by 'And grant peace among us,' services that unite the people of Israel in all their diversity during this emotional month – at this unifying site,” the Western Wall Heritage Foundation added. “We call upon the public to come early to the Slihot services during the Ten Days of Repentance and invite those who cannot physically come to the Western Wall to connect remotely, in order to alleviate the crowds and ensure the safety and well-being of all Western Wall visitors.”
Observing safety recommendations
In the event of overcrowding, entrances to the Old City and the Western Wall Plaza may be closed.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation is advising all those who are physically attending to heed instructions from the ushers present in order to ensure public safety.