Apr 12, 2021


For the first time since the pandemic outbreak:
Thousands of participants took part in the traditional Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) event that took place this morning

Thousands of people participated in the traditional Birkat Kohanim event that took place at the Western Wall Plaza this morning (Monday), the first since the pandemic outbreak. The event, attended by kohen families from across Israel, was festive and moving while keeping to Health Ministry guidelines.

Birkat Kohanim took place in a glorious and particularly moving event following this past Sukkot and Passover when the event was held in a very limited format. We have been privileged now to be blessed with many people in attendance, as it says “The King’s glory is in a multitude of people.” The service was accompanied by the Neranena choir that added to and uplifted the special event.

The event was attended by Israel’s chief rabbis, the Rishon Lezion, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef shlita, and Rabbi David Lau shlita; the rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz shlita; the minister of religious affairs, Rabbi Yaakov Avitan shlita; the mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Moshe Leon; and the deputy Interior Minister MK Yoav Ben Zur.

The service of “accepting the yoke of heaven” took place at the end with prayers by Rabbi Yosef and Rabbi Lau. At the end of the service, a special thanksgiving prayer was said by Rabbi Rabinowitz for the diminishment of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel and a prayer for it to end in the entire world.

Rabbi Rabinowitz said, “Birkat Kohanim written in the Torah contains a promise to protect from harm and for peace on Israel. In these difficult times, we need this blessing more than ever – a prayer for peace in the Jewish nation and for health for everyone in the world.”

This year, we are marking 50 years since the reinstitution of the Birkat Kohanim event that began almost half a century ago, founded by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gafner and organized for years by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation would like to remind the public that another Birkat Kohanim event will be taking place tomorrow (Tuesday, the 2nd day of chol hamoed) for those unable to come today between 8:45-10:45 am Israel time.

The Birkat Kohanim event will be broadcast for those not able to attend on the Kotel website (www.thekotel.org) and on media outlets.

Live broadcast of tomorrow’s Birkat Kohanim

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation asks the public to follow the directions of the Health Ministry and Israel Police and those of the ushers who will be guiding the public during Passover in order to safeguard the welfare of all those coming to the WW Plaza.

The blessing is performed by kohanimmale Jews with priestly heritage who have a clear patrilineal tradition leading back to Aaron the high priest, brother of Moses.