Yair Sherki
Yair SherkiAvi Itzkowitz

Yair Sherki, a National Religious Channel 12 news reporter, walked to the Western Wall to daven the Shavuot morning prayers at sunrise, along with tens of thousands of others, on Sunday morning.

When the Shavuot holiday was over, Sherki posted his feelings about the mass prayer on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

"When I arrived at the Western Wall a little before five in the morning, it was already impossible to enter the square [in front of the Western Wall] due to the huge amount of people there," Sherki wrote. "The first rays of sunshine rose, Shacharit [morning prayers] began immediately, and I was still stuck in line for a security check at the entrance. The mass of people who flocked from the center of the city, spilled from Agron Street and Jaffa Street and Haneviim street towards the walls of the Old City, created a huge 'traffic jam.'"

"A large group of teenagers with accents were singing loudly, a quorum of Hasidim in prayer shawls were already getting organized [to pray], and while waiting I see a tourist ecstatically taking pictures of the whole Western Wall square from above and talking quickly into his earphones. When I approached, I saw that he was recording himself on Facebook Live. I suddenly tried thinking about the sight in front of me through his eyes - what he sees, what he thinks about what he sees and what he's telling his Facebook friends somewhere in the Far East."

"In the meantime, it's my turn to squeeze my way into the prayer area, and I switched my thoughts from what the tourist was seeing to what I was seeing as a news reporter. I don't work on Shabbat and holidays. These are the only days I can really experience anything and get absorbed completely without thinking about the external eye, either for the news or Twitter or Facebook."

"It's enjoyable and I'm happy to experience something that's not for the sake of a news report. But that tourist made me wonder for the first time how an event like this is covered [by the media], if at all - at a time that I don't consume or create news, at a time when religious reporters don't broadcast and religious viewers don't consume news."

"Do the morning news channels on the radio report on the tens of thousands of people who are currently at the Western Wall? On the night [of Torah learning] that took place in Jerusalem? Do the evening news shows on television show images of all this beauty? Is it even possible to take pictures when it's clear that the religious audience there will not approve?"

"I don't have a clear answer on what should be, nor complaints about the lack of coverage. I just have a thought about how amazing it is that in 2019, there can be a huge, unrecorded and undocumented mass event, which isn't being recorded on Facebook Live anywhere, except maybe the Facebook of that stunned tourist. And it seems to me that this is also part of the magic of this event."

"But when I hear that the summary of the headlines of the holiday are about some violent incident that took place somewhere, and not about the prayer at the Western Wall with the participation of tens of thousands, I think to myself that maybe, just that moment, exactly at sunrise, when all the prayer quorums reach the same place - the Amidah prayer - and the white plaza suddenly stops completely - that sums up the holiday much more accurately," Sherki concluded.