Last night, a profound and inclusive gathering took place at the Western Wall plaza, where thousands of devoted worshipers participated in the traditional 'selichot' prayers. This spiritual event is a pivotal component of the Ten Days of Repentance, leading up to the solemn occasion of Yom Kippur. However, this year marked a historic milestone as the prayers extended their reach to embrace the hard of hearing community by being thoughtfully translated into sign language.
In a remarkable display of unity and inclusion, dozens of deaf individuals, in partnership with the “Chush Ben Dan” association, journeyed from various corners of the country to partake in this spiritually enriching experience at the Western Wall.
Reflecting on this groundbreaking event, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation expressed their commitment to ensuring that the profound act of seeking forgiveness through prayer is accessible to all who desire it. Their spokesperson stated, "We continue to work tirelessly to make the moving experience of praying for forgiveness as accessible as possible to anyone who wishes to do so. The general public is invited to tune in and join tonight and Saturday night for the live broadcast of the last forgiveness sessions in preparation for Yom Kippur, which will be broadcast on the Western Wall website.”
IDF soldier blows the Shofar at the Western Wall for the Jewish month of Elul ❤️— Inbar Cohen (@InbarCohen13) September 19, 2023
Video: @Shmulivld pic.twitter.com/rM3L5bIk20
This significant transformation in the way prayers are shared with the public from the Western Wall comes on the heels of the inaugural 'selichot' prayer event held by the Knesset. Knesset officials are keen to establish this as a new annual tradition, demonstrating a commitment to inclusivity and spiritual growth.
Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, the driving force behind this initiative, expressed, "This is the beginning of a new tradition." He had previously orchestrated the Mimuna event at the Knesset after Passover just six months ago, and more recently, the Elul month events. “The days of repentance and forgiveness are a time of wanting to unite in prayer, and an opportunity to bridge gaps, meet each other and remember that we are the children of one nation.”
“In this display of forgiveness, which is the essence of the soundtrack of the Jewish soul wherever it is - east and west, religious and secular, we will all gather together to sing in prayer for a year in which we will overcome crises and difficulties, and in the hope that we will find in our hearts the unifier of the people of Israel. All this so that all our enemies know that the same prayers that have accompanied us in the land and in the diaspora throughout the ages and protected us as a people in the past - will continue to do so today and in the future."