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Officials clear thousands of Western Wall prayer notes ahead of Jewish New Year

Have you ever wondered what happens to those special prayer notes?

Workers clear notes to God that were placed in the cracks of the Western Wall to make space for new notes ahead of the Jewish New Year, in Jerusalem's Old City, September 10, 2023 .(Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Ahead of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, officials in Jerusalem started clearing thousands of notes and prayers wedged into the Western Wall in order to make room for the large number of new notes that will be left during this important High Holiday season.

The tradition of placing notes in the Western Wall is at least 300 years old and proceeds the modern State of Israel by over two centuries. Jews traditionally pray for a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year.

In the past half a year, a whopping 20,000 prayer notes from 100 countries have been sent to the Western Wall, with the largest amount arriving from the United States, Canada, Brazil and Colombia.

Due to the sacred nature of the ancient Western Wall, the prayer notes are removed according to religious Jewish halachic instructions which require the use of disposable tools and gloves.

Have you ever wondered what happens to those special prayer notes?

Once removed, they are collected and buried, along with worn-out sacred books, in a cemetery on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem.

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who personally oversaw the removal of the notes, recited a prayer for the unity of the Jewish people.

"May this year and its curses end, and may the new year and its blessings begin - grant peace to the land, peace and unity is our common request," Rabinowitz prayed.

"We are confident that from this place, where the Divine Presence has never moved, the Blessed be He hears the prayers of all of us from the land and from the diaspora, and the requests that arrive here will ascend on high and bring with them to the coming year - a year of unity, joy, and hope."

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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