To the Wall for prayers

Isolated from wandering about with my camera and annoying people, I began looking back over some of the photographs I had taken but never published..

My last visit to Israel was a great experience, warm weather, good friends and an opportunity to take pictures at the Western Wall.

For those unfamiliar with Jerusalem, it helps to know that one of the most sacred places for Jews is the Western Wall in the Old City – sometimes known as the Wailing Wall. The devout will go there, especially on festivals and say prayers for the restoration of Israel. By and large it’s a “men only job”, although these days there is a partitioned area for women!

When Jews go to the wall for prayers it is a dressing up job. None of your turn up in your baggy jeans and roll neck sweater. It is best suit, clean shirt, coat, hat and tallit (prayer shawl) at least.

The other thing the unwary need to know about when in the vicinity of the Wall, is that the orthodox Jews don’t like having their photograph taken – that’s why many of my pictures are side shots. I have left out the ones where someone has stuck a hand in front of my lens. There are even notices these days reminding the casual picture snappers that this is considered to be a place of worship – so no photographs.

The Jews congregate to pray, but unlike Muslim prayers on Friday lunchtime it is not a mass gathering all doing the same action at the same time. If you are very fortunate you may find a Bar Mitzvah taking place. There the young man undergoing the rite to become an adult will have a large number of his adoring family present with cameras and mobile phones to record the event.

It is colourful – joyful and I can’t understand why I haven’t posted these pictures before.

Have a good weekend –  Shabbat Shalom.