The Israelis – The Western Wall

The Western Wall (Wailing Wall) is likely the most sacred site for Jews worldwide outside of the actual Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that supported the Temple Mount and its surrounding courtyards. Daily, the Jewish people visit the wall to pray. The following is a series of photos made at the Western Wall and there will be a few observations written beneath some of the photos. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into Jewish life.

Jews face the remaining remnants of the Temple when they pray.

Morning and evening prayers are often recited in groups.

There is occasional deep emotion at the wall.

Written notes are pressed into the spaces between the blocks of the wall. They are never removed, the elements simply break them down or carry them away.

Phylactery. The Torah told the Jews “And you shall bind them as a sign on your arm, and they shall be as frontlets on your head between your eyes” (Deuteronomy 6:8). Further instructions say that they should be worn on the “strong arm,” as a reminder of the Lord’s strong arm that brought them out of Egypt. They are worn near the brain so that spiritual elements of the brain are controlled and “redirected towards service to Hashem, Whose Name is blessed.”

A father shares a moment with his daughter at the wall. There is a separate section for women, and this is no small point of contention at the current time, but outside the scope of this post.

Some deep discussions are held at the wall.

A father and son read prayers together.

A man reads a prayer book at day’s end as he leans against the tables and podiums used to keep various books of prayer during the day.

At one end of the Western Wall rests a small room in an old tunnel where a quorum of men will gather together for prayers.

A Jewish man of Ethiopian background returns books to a small library inside a room adjacent to the Western Wall.

While I focused my camera on more Orthodox members of the community, there are many other Jewish people that visit the wall daily.

Soldiers can sometimes be seen praying at the wall.

A father and daughter share time together as he recites evening prayers.

I was often asked if I was Jewish. I wondered at the question, and then learned that people were simply looking for a quorum of men so that they could begin prayers. Some men rock animatedly back and forth as they pray.

Jews who have immigrated to Israel often retain the clothing they wore in their previous countries. Russian hats are common.

And this week, a bonus shot. Yes, yes. Of course. The cell phone is also found at the Western Wall.

Until next week, have a good one…

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18 thoughts on “The Israelis – The Western Wall

    • Thanks Edith, it’s a challenging place to shoot with the lighting and everything, so I appreciate hearing that! I was also wanting to help get “the feel” of the place, and tried my best to be very respectful of all that was going on there.

  1. A beautiful series of photos of how devout Jewish pray at the Wall, Russ! I particularly enjoyed how you captured things like different hat styles and the stark contrast between the orthodox and more modern Jewish.

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