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Aug 17, 2020

The Kotel on a Hot Summer Corona Day

I went to the Kotel today with [part of] the family.

This was the first time I have been to the Kotel since Corona shut everything down in March, and also since before that, though I dont remember exactly when - but definitely since the CoronaVirus balagan began I have not been there.

Here are some interesting observations.

We walked through the Arab shuk, as we usually do, to get down to the Kotel area. The regular entrance was closed off (I think I overheard something about fixing a sewage drain), so they directed us to the temporary entrance just lightly further down past the police station. It takes you down to the tunnel that the path from Shaar Shchem leads to that comes out just above the bathrooms. 

In this tunnel, near the entrance, is a vending machine. This vending does not sell cans of Coca Cola or bags of potato chips, nor does it sell ice cream bars or popsicles, all items that would be welcome to many Kotel visitors on a hot summer day. This vending machine sells books about the Kotel. I have not seen this ever before (though maybe it is already there for a long time..)

I have seen pictures of the partitions placed at the Kotel, so I knew what to expect, but I had not seen it myself. I am sure you have seen pictures too, but now you get to look at mine. It felt sort of like walking through the corn (maize) mazes..

At the entrance to the Kotel (on the men's side) there was a fellow doing chessed. On a hot summer day this fellow is standing there giving out drinks of water and seltzer (soda water). All free of charge. All he "charges" is the saying aloud of the bracha shehakol (and he reminds you to says bracha achrona, though not aloud). I saw him give drinks to lots of people. I don't know if he is there every day, all day, a few hours a day, or just every now and then or if this was just a one-time thing. I have definitely never seen it before. Whatever it was, he was doing a chessed for a lot of people offering cold drinks on a hot day.

When leaving the Kotel we saw some people moving these air conditioners through the area. We got excited that maybe because of the hot summer they had decided to air condition the entire Kotel area. It turns out that they didn't.

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