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Mar 18, 2021

changes to Birkat Kohanim this Pesach

The news is reporting that a decision has been made for how the mass Birkat Kohanim at the Kotel will work this year.

Last year it was cancelled, sort of, due to COVID-19. That was the beginning of the pandemic and Pesach was under the most serious of all the lockdowns. In an effort to not actually cancel the event, the government permitted a minyan of 10 people with kohanim and their Birkat Kohanim was broadcast live on the Internet. Obviously the normal masses of thousands, tens of thousands, of people, were not able to participate with their actual presence at the Kotel.

This year, with restrictions progressively easing up due to falling Covid numbers and rising vaccination/recovery numbers, it has been decided to allow the Birkat Kohanim event to return, almost to its original format - with some adjustments.

In the past, the birkat kohanim event would be held on the first day of Chol Hamoed for non-Israelis. This year that would be on Tuesday. This year the event will be split into two events, one day after the other, so that people can go to one or the other. The Birkat Kohanim events will take place on both Monday and Tuesday mornings at the Kotel. I suspect the reason Monday was chosen is because this year there are no tourists here for the holiday (besides the people who live here "short term"), so the issue of allowing them to come on chag is minimized, along with them still having the option of Tuesday.

It should be noted that the Western Wall Heritage Center has requested of the public to not try to be present at both. if you go on Monday, do not go on Tuesday. The purpose of splitting it to two days is to space out the crowds.

The Chief Rabbis, Mayor of Jerusalem, and other dignitaries will be present at the event on both days
(source: Habim)

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