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Kotel Gets Cleaned for Passover, All Notes Taken Out

As the holiday of Passover approaches, the Kotel is also being prepared and the notes are being removed from between its stones.
By Elad Benari and Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 4/7/2011, 5:31 AM / Last Update: 4/8/2011, 2:13 AM

The holiday of Passover is quickly approaching and as we are all busy cleaning our homes, the Kotel (Western Wall) is also being cleaned and the many notes which visitors place between the stones throughout the year are being removed. After the notes are removed, they are taken to genizah (storage for sacred documents).

“We do this so that there’s room for people who come in the future to place their notes,” explained the caretaker of the Kotel, Yehoshua Rachamim. “We also do it so the wall is Kosher for Passover and there are no traces of chametz between the stones.”

Rachamim added that the cleaning staff does not look at the contents of the notes under any circumstances.

“We don’t look at the notes,” he emphasized. “We only clean, gather the notes, place them in a bag, and take them for genizah.”

In addition to removing the notes, professional engineers are also working at the site, using a crane to ensure that the stones remain stable and that there is no fear that they could break and fall on the worshipers.

The work is being carried out by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, and is being supervised by the Kotel’s rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich.