Traditional priestly blessing at Kotel held without worshippers

April 12, 2020 by TPS
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The Birkat Kohanim, the traditional priestly blessing recited during the morning prayers of Passover at the Kotel Plaza, was held on Sunday without the usual tens of thousands of worshippers due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Old City of Jerusalem amid Coronavirus lockdown
The Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem’s Old City is empty due to the Israeli government order to tighter the lockdown in the country and limit gatherings to 10 people to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Jerusalem, Apr 7, 2020. Photo by Elron Zabatani/TPS

The three-verse blessing, which is recited during a celebratory prayer session during the intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot, normally in the presence of many thousands of people, was limited to only a group of 10 kohanim this year due to the Coronavirus restrictions.

All prayer gatherings are banned in Israel to stem the spread of the virus.

The prayers were broadcast live as the Western Wall Heritage Foundation invited “the thousands of participants who come every year and the general public to join the prayers from home.”

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was one of the 10 Kohanim admitted to the Kotel.

“Last year I was among 100,000; this year, unfortunately, far less. I will pray that the world is spared further illness or sorrow from COVID-19 or otherwise,” he tweeted.

All festivals and holiday gatherings and events were cancelled across Israel due to the pandemic and the country remained under an almost complete lockdown.

TPS

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