Limited Birchas Kohanim at the Kosel

YERUSHALAYIM -
Birchas Kohanim at the Kosel on Sunday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ten mispallelim wearing face masks davened at the Kosel on Sunday morning, when in years past the Birchas Kohanim on Chol Hamoed would usually be attended by tens of thousands.

Because of coronavirus restrictions banning large public gatherings the small group of mispallelim maintained social distancing at the Kosel Plaza.

Despite regulations prohibiting public prayer groups, an exception was made for the Kosel, and Rav Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Rav of the Kosel, was allowed to decide who the ten allowed to take part in the tefillos would be.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman – a Kohen – was among the group at the Kosel.

“Last year I was among 100,000; this year, unfortunately, far less,” Friedman wrote on Twitter. “I will pray that the world is spared further illness or sorrow from COVID-19 or otherwise.”

The large Birchas Kohanim ceremony is held on the first weekday of Chol Hamoed Pesach and Sukkos.

A small number of kohanim during the birchos kohanim which usually attracts thousands of at the Kosel on Chol Hamoed, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, April 12, 2020 (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)
A combination picture shows thousands of mispallelim taking part in the Birchas Kohanim on Chol Hamoed Pesach 2017 (above), and a small number of mispallelim during this year’s Birchas Kohanim. (Reuters/Amir Cohen, Ronen Zvulun)
Ambassador David Friedman. (Dr. Paul Brody)
(Dr. Paul Brody)
(Dr. Paul Brody)