Western Wall service
Photo: Israel Bardugo

Tisha B'Av marked by mass Western Wall prayer

Masses arrive at holy site in Jerusalem to mark onset of fast commemorating destruction of two Temples

Thousands of Jews arrived at the Western Wall on Monday, to participate in the traditional Tisha B'Av prayer service.


Tens of thousands of Jews are expected to visit the Western Wall plaza over the next day, where they will lament the destruction of the two Temples.


The day, which is marked by a traditional fast, will see dozens of prayer services, each conducted according to the observers' various Jewish traditions.


Jerusalem security forces, along with Western Wall ushers, have been deployed in the holy site's plaza to maintain the order.


Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz said services were being held under the watchful eye of Israeli security forces, since Tisha B'Av is taking place at the same time in which Jerusalem's Muslims community – and the Arab world as a whole – are marking the month of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, due to a demand to silence Tel Aviv's "tent city" for the duration of Tisha B'Av, a new initiative called on protesters across Israel to join the fast as a sign of solidarity with both Jewish tradition as well as the Muslim Ramadan.


"These protests aren't taking place at this specific time without reason. The Jewish state was destroyed once due to social injustice – the exact same thing we protest today," said 29-year-old social fast initiator Gilad Maayan.


Being an Orthodox man from Tel Aviv, Maayan explained that "this protest is not a protest of spoiled or leftist people, but it's intended for a basic spiritual cause for the Jewish people."


Maayan's call for a pan-sector fast was acknowledged by social protest organizers nationwide, promising to shut down all outdoor kitchens across tent cities. Tent city dwellers were also asked to not eat around the campground even if they do not plan on fasting.


"We're joining the fast and sacrificing this day for social justice," said Baqa al-Gharbiyye Public Committee Chairman Samich Abu Moch.


"There is great significance in the fact that we are all working together for a common goal, because we're all on the same boat. Social justice is a higher cause and a holy one," remarked Abu Moch.  


"This fast is a common denominator for all religions, just as social justice serves us all and crosses all sectors."

MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) praised this uplifting initiative saying, "We must commend any associatively between social justice and Israeli tradition. This fast expresses the self-examination marking a destruction caused by unfounded hatred. Therefore we mustn't distinct between citizens suffering from housing shortage and high costs of living in all sectors."



פרסום ראשון: 08.08.11, 19:53
 new comment
This will delete your current comment