The leader will split the participants into groups and each group will receive a picture of an important event that takes place regularly at the Western Wall.
The events are: the Slichot prayers, Bar Mitzvahs, the swearing-in ceremony of new IDF recruits, discussion/song circles at the Western Wall Plaza (e.g. on Tisha’a B’Av and at similar gatherings).
The leader will tell the group that the event took place in a certain place that was specially chosen for this event.
The participants needs to figure out:
- What event
- What is the importance of the event for the character in the picture
- Where the event was
- Why the place was chosen
Afterwards, gather all the participants together again and ask each group to present their answer.
We will find out (if needed, with the help of the leader) that we are talking about the Western Wall Plaza.
The leader will ask the participants what they know about the Western Wall:
- Why do all these events take place specifically at the Western Wall?
- What is the significance of the Western Wall?
After hearing their answers, we will read the explanation card :
The Western Wall was a supportive wall of the Temple Mount. It is one of the only remnants from the Temple period in Jerusalem.
The Temple was a spiritual center for the Jewish people and was destroyed twice. Because of this, even though the Western Wall is not a remnant of the Temple itself, it became a symbol of the Jewish people: just as the Western Wall survived the turmoil of history, so too the Jewish people survives and is eternal.
Therefore, the Western Wall has always been thought of as a central place of utmost importance. Over thousands of years, Jewish people would make their way there to pray.
The meaning of the Wall is slightly different for every person and each one has a different connection to it: a connection to the historical story, the Biblical story, a connection to the place as a place that unifies the Jewish people, a cultural symbol, and more.
It is important to mention that in recent years, despite the complexity, the State of Israel is making an effort to find a way to make the Western Wall accessible to every Jewish person so that everyone will feel comfortable to come and pray there.