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Sep 21, 2008

Getting to Kever Rachel has just gotten much easier!

We were heading toward Jerusalem for Shabbos. It was late Friday afternoon, and we did something that three weeks ago would not have been possible. We decided that on the way to Jerusalem we would stop off for a few minutes to daven at Kever Rachel. And we did. We stopped, literally, for a few minutes. We got to Jerusalem, made the turn towards Kever Rachel, the army opened the gate for us, we drove right in and parked, went in and davened for a few minutes, and left. It was that simple. We made what turned to be a ten minute detour, instead of what would have been impossible if not for the new arrangements, and even if we could have gone would have taken upwards of two hours, aside from planning.

Kever Rachel used to be very difficult to go to. You could not go by car, only by organized bus. Either Egged or a private group that made arrangements with the security services. It was very inconvenient. You could not go when you wanted, you had to hope the army did not change their mind once you got there, the whole process took a very long time as you had to go by bus and wait by the checkpoint for the army to allow you in, and wait for an army jeep escort, then you had to be ready to leave when they told you it was time. Basically you had to block out a lot fo time if you wanted to go to Kever Rachel, and the whole thing was very inconvenient.

The month of Elul has been a trial month. Due to the efforts of many, especially Meier Porush (candidate in the Jerusalem mayoral elections), the army has agreed to open Kever Rachel to the general public. They have opened it for the month of Elul as a trial month, to see how safe it is, and to see how much public interest there really is.

When we were there, late Friday afternoon, it was far from crowded. However, people were coming and going the whole time. That is the way it should be. It should be easy for people to go when they want and for how long they want.

It is still not like it was 15 years ago, when you just drove right through Bethlehem, parked on the road, went into Kever Rachel and maybe even went into a couple of the arab shops across the street before you left. But the situation is getting better again. Hopefully the trial period will be deemed a success and Kever Rachel will be accessible to all easily once again.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. That is really good news. I remember visiting Kever Rachel years ago, and it was easy, like you mentioned. That's how it should always be.

  3. O that's awesome.
    Can't wait to see it first-hand.
    Seriously, thanks for your blog. I know I've said it before but your blog is really fantastic. (especially when i'm in chutz la'aretz)


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