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Israel Rubin

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INTRODUCTION:

We, the stones of the Kotel, are the last vestige of the Holy Temple linking past generations with those who come today and with those future generations who will be inspired to come. This book chronicles the history of the Western Wall [Kotel, or Ha-Kotel Ha’Ma’aravi, in Hebrew] as told by one of the huge stones that make up the Wall. It faces the plaza where Jews [and often non-Jews] from around the world come to pray or petition God. Today, the Western Wall draws over eight million visitors a year. The Western Wall in Jerusalem is the holiest of Jewish sites, revered because it is a remnant of the Herodian retaining wall that surrounded the Second Temple[1]. Many have dubbed it the "Wailing Wall" by because for centuries Jews have gathered here to weep over the destruction of their temple. Since the 1967 liberation of Jerusalem, the large open area that faces the Western Wall serves as a roofless synagogue that capable of accommodating tens of thousands of worshipers. Prayers continually take place here well into the night. It is the scene of special services which are described in the book.

 

[1] It should be noted that the Western Wall is not a remnant of either of the ancient Jewish temples. It is one of the retaining walls of the Temple Mount. The Southern and Eastern walls are well preserved and can be seen in large part even today. One of the major recent attractions is the Jerusalem Archaeological Park which comprises the Southern wall of the Temple Mount together with a portion of the Western Wall.