Illustrative Photo Credit: James Emery [License]

Surreal times in Jerusalem :: COVID-19 cleaning for Passover

What can we say, we are living through unbelievable times. Somehow we have completely changed our lives in Israel’s capital of Jerusalem. Yet we continue with our usual preparations for the upcoming holiday of Pesach (Passover) — including the cleaning of the Kotel (Western Wall) plaza… this year with quite a twist!

Illustrative Photo Credit: James Emery [License]

In hazmat suits, workers collect messages from Western Wall

Article Courtesy: YNet

Twice a year, cleaning teams using long sticks gouge out tens of thousands of written prayers that visitors traditionally cram into the crevices of Judaism’s Western Wall in Jerusalem.
But this time, the rite was held with precautions against coronavirus infection in place.
Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks sprayed sanitizer on the wall’s ancient stones while others held onto their sticks with gloves as they extracted the paper notes left in “God’s mailbox.”
Religious authorities also operate a service in which people can email their prayers for placement between the stones.
One would-be worshipper, who stepped up to the wall and kissed it, was removed by police, a day after Israel tightened public prayer restrictions.
The Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, who oversees the collection of the notes to ensure there’s always room for more, offered a prayer for salvation “from this difficult virus that has attacked the world.”
The papers were placed into bags for ritual burial on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.

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