Thousands attend Jewish blessing in Jerusalem

Thousands attend Jewish blessing in Jerusalem

Thousands of people attended a traditional Jewish blessing at the Western Wall in Jerusalem to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

The Priestly Blessing, called Birkat Cohanim in Hebrew, draws crowds from across Israel and around the world and is held three times a year during the Jewish holidays of Sukkot , Passover and Shavuot.

Kohanim, or priests, lead the communal prayers by chanting three consecutive verses of the Torah one word at a time, in a special singsong reputedly dating back to the Temple era itself.

The site is sacred for Jews, treasured as the spot where biblical King Solomon built a temple and where a second temple was razed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

During the holiday of Sukkot, special blessings are cited over a bouquet of greenery and fruit at prayer time. The bouquet contains the symbolic ‘four species’ – a “Lulav” (palm frond), Etrog (citron) and branches of willow and myrtle.

The mass prayer was also attended by the Western Wall rabbi and U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.