Workers clear prayer notes out of the Western Wall ahead of Rosh Hashanah

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Workers clear prayer notes out of the Western Wall ahead of Rosh Hashanah

Slips of paper are left in their tens of thousands between the cracks of the ancient stones, leading to the twice-yearly cleaning

Workers bearing long wooden sticks have cleared out the many written prayers and wishes crammed into the crevices of the Western Wall ahead of the New Year.

Tens of thousands of notes are left at the site in Jerusalem’s Old City, leading to a clear-out every six months.

This week’s cleaning operation makes room for fresh prayers to be placed during the High Holy Days.

“Just like every year, this year on the eve of the New Year we clear the notes from the Western Wall,” said Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Western Wall’s rabbi.

“There are notes from all over the world.”

This time, the rite was held with precautions against coronavirus infection in place, after a relapse in Israel’s infection rate.

Workers in protective masks held onto their sticks with gloves as they extracted the paper notes left in ‘God’s mailbox’.

Religious authorities also operate a service in which people can email their prayers for placement between the stones.

The Western Wall is a remnant of the compound of the Second Temple that was destroyed in 70 AD.

It stands today beneath a religious plaza revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount.

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