Clearing Out the Notes in the Kotel Ahead of Passover, Under COVID-19 Conditions
JNS.org – Workers at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem on Tuesday conducted the site’s customary biannual clear-out of all the notes stuck between the stones over the course of the previous six months.
The notes are traditionally collected before Passover—which this year begins on the evening of March 27—and Rosh Hashanah. Mindful of public-health regulations, workers wore gloves and masks, and used disposable wooden sticks to remove the notes. These will be buried on the Mount of Olives, along with holy materials that are deemed too worn-out for use.
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz oversaw the ceremonial clear-out and recited a prayer for the burial of the notes.
According to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a spike in the number of notes e-mailed to the Kotel by Jews all over the world. Since Passover 2020, more than 71,000 such notes have been e-mailed to the foundation, many times more than prior to the coronavirus crisis.