Kotel Officials: We're All Ready for Shavuot
Officials at the Kotel (Western Wall) are preparing for expected crowds of tens of thousands of visitors, who are expected to come to the holy site to celebrate Shavuot, which begins Tuesday evening.
Among the customs of the holiday is an all-night Torah learning session, topped by morning prayers that begin at dawn. The Kotel is usually full all night on the holiday, as worshippers come to the site to study, and stay for the morning prayers.
In addition, many Hassidic leaders conducted special celebrations on the night following the holiday (Wednesday night). Thus, the Kotel will host large crowds for more than 30 hours straight.
Police are preparing to deploy thousands of officers to keep the peace within the crowds, and to ensure that Arabs in the area do not attack visitors. There have been numerous incidents of Arabs throwing rocks at visitors to the Kotel from atop the Temple Mount.
Kotel officials will set up a special mechitza (a separation between men and women) for the large number of prayer quorums (minyanim) that will be conducted.
Each of those quorums will want to use a Torah scroll for the special readings of the day, which includes the reading of the Ten Commandments. Kotel officials said that in light of new donations of Torah scrolls in recent months, they expect that the supply of scrolls will be sufficient for all the quorums.
It's customary to snack during the all-night study sessions, and the Eshel Yerushalayim organization, a project of Kollel Habad, will distribute free snacks throughout Tuesday night.
Kotel officials asked visitors to “maintain the dignity and holiness of the site,” and to “use their time at the Kotel properly.”