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September 13, 2013 12:01 pm

Before Yom Kippur, Thousands Visit Western Wall and Hebron

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

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Selichot prayers at the Tomb of Patriarchs on September 10, 2013. Photo: Ma'arat HaMachpela Management.

The days leading up to Yom Kippur have brought thousands of Jewish prayer goers to some of Judaism’s holiest sites – the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron.

Before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, traditional penitential prayers known as Selichot are recited in the early hours of the morning or after midnight by Jewish worshippers. This is particularly so during the ten days, known as Yamim Noraim, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

This past Tuesday, more than 20,000 Jewish worshippers visited the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron – also known as Ma’arat HaMechpela – to recite selichot. These worshippers included some 2,500 Karliner Hasidim with their Hasidic rebbe.

In addition, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation stated on Thursday that approximately 500,000 people have visited the Western Wall for selichot prayers since the start of Elul, the last month of the Jewish calendar, and into Tishrei, the first month of the Jewish year.

“This dramatic spectacle of the masses of the Jewish people thronging to the Western Wall is an impressive testimony and is an honor for the people of Israel and [demonstrates] its affinity to its traditions and inheritance and to the remnant of our Temple,” said Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Western Wall rabbi in a Jerusalem Post report.

“It is hard not to be moved by the strength of these images, which demonstrate the true strength of the Jewish people.”

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