Worship at the Western ‘Wailing’ Wall

After visiting with Ozzy Khalil, a Palestinian American businessman who comes home to the West Bank every summer with his family from Northeast Philadelphia, on Saturday, NBC10 went to the Western Wall, one of the most sacred places in the world.

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After visiting with Ozzy Khalil, a Palestinian American businessman who comes home to the West Bank every summer with his family from Northeast Philadelphia, on Saturday, NBC10 went to the Western Wall, one of the most sacred places in the world.
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After visiting with Ozzy Khalil, a Palestinian American businessman who comes home to the West Bank every summer with his family from Northeast Philadelphia, on Saturday, NBC10 went to the Western Wall, one of the most sacred places in the world.
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Karen Araiza
After visiting with Ozzy Khalil, a Palestinian American businessman who comes home to the West Bank every summer with his family from Northeast Philadelphia, on Saturday, NBC10 went to the Western Wall, one of the most sacred places in the world. Visitors must pass through security before entering this holy ground.
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Karen Araiza
The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall or Kotel, is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the Temple Mount, one of the most important religious sites for Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
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Karen Araiza
In the Jewish faith, the Temple Mount is the site where the world was created and other important religious events. These flags denote the Davidson Center in the Jerusalem Archeological Park, where archeologists endeavor to preserve the site and learn about the historical and religious history at the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
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Karen Araiza
The Western Wall once surrounded elaborate Jewish temples that were built upon the Temple Mount. The most recent temple located on the Temple Mount, known as the Second Temple, was destroyed in 70 CE.
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Karen Araiza
While visitors are allowed to go to the Western Wall, they are reminded that the site is a place of worship and, as such, should act and dress in a modest fashion out of respect for the worshippers.
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Karen Araiza
Entering the Ezrat Israel Plaza, a place for prayer at the Temple Mount, the rules are strict regarding behavior within the sacred space.
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Karen Araiza
Control of the Western Wall has changed hands over the centuries due to high levels of political and religious conflict by different nations. Current, the Wall is maintained by Israel.
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Karen Araiza
As you enter the prayer area for the Western Wall, the path splits: one for men, one for women. In the Orthodox Jewish faith, interactions between the two genders can lead to potential attraction that can interfere with one's sole focus on worship.
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Karen Araiza
Once inside the prayer space, one comes face-to-face with the massive stones that comprise this centuries-old wall, the cracks revealing how it has stood the test of time.
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Karen Araiza
In the prayer space for the women, one woman looks to a prayer book as she enters. Women crowd the plaza outside, because the women have fewer internal prayer areas with access to the Western Wall than the men. In Orthodox Judaism, men are the ones who conduct the traditional forms of prayer, and thus have more sacred space allotted for their prayer.
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Karen Araiza
As you walk along the Western Wall, pieces of paper fill the cracks in the stone. Starting in the early 18th century, people began placing written prayers in the gaps in the Wall. Over a million prayers are placed in the cracks of the Wall each year. Twice a year, the notes are removed and buried at the Mount of Olives, another significant religous site for the Jewish and Christian communities.
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Karen Araiza
Women crowd along the section of the Western Wall reserved for them, mourning the fall of the Second Temple. It is customary to walk backward away from the Wall as you leave.
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Karen Araiza
The Western Wall is also known as the "Wailing Wall." As Jews pray over the fall of the Second Temple, they are expected to wail and lament the destruction of that sacred place.
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Karen Araiza
Women read from prayer books as they lament. They are not allowed to wear traditional religious garments, read aloud from the Torah, or sing as they worship, because those actions are reserved for men in the Orthodox Jewish faith.
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Karen Araiza
On the Sabbath, one woman prays at the Western Wall. Historically, women would cast lots to have the privelege of sweeping and washing the alleyway at the foot of the Wall.
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Karen Araiza
Leaving the designated prayer spaces, men and women reunite in a packed plaza that resembles the crowds surrounding the Liberty Bell and other Philadelphia historical landmarks.
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Karen Araiza
In the plaza, two men leave the prayer space arm-and-arm, their heads covered as a sign of modesty and reverence.
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Karen Araiza
Crossing the busy plaza, two boys dressed in traditional Orthodox Jewish garments pause as they pass by the NBC10 team.
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Karen Araiza
Though men and women are separated in the prayer spaces, once reunited they join in dialogue about their faith and the signficance of the sacred ground they prayed upon.
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Karen Araiza
Close by, though, the conflict past the Western Wall and the Temple Mount is constantly present. Israeli guards remain vigilant in monitoring and securing the sacred space.
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Karen Araiza
Looking back as you leave the holy ground, the initial split the path for the men and women entering to pray lays below you.
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Karen Araiza
Outside of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, and all around the world, Jews will traditionally perform their silent prayer while facing in the direction of the Temple Mount.
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Karen Araiza
Standing upon the Mount of Olives, where the Jews believe the ressurection of the dead will begin, one can see the Old City of Jerusalem below.
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Karen Araiza
Looking out upon the Old City of Jerusalem, with the Western Wall standing strong below, the historical and religious traditions in this sacred place can make one forget the ongoing conflict that is so nearby.
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