For many folks, visiting the Kotel is emotional, meaningful and – more than anything – private. In fact, the single most common experience people have at the Western Wall is inherently personal – putting a kvittel, or note in between its ancient ashlar stones. Whether you’re a believer or not, the simple act of writing a small note, folding it up, and shoving it deep into the cracks is the closest we get to talking to God. But what happens to all those requests, prayers and hopes? Where do they go? Is the Kotel just an ever-expanding archive of notes? And, if so, how doesn’t it run out of space?
The short answer is the Rosh HaShanah cleanup. But while reporting on this peculiar semi-annual ritual, producer Yoshi Fields discovered that a cleanup can be much more than just a cleanup. It offered him an opportunity to rethink the story he was told about Israel, and evaluate how reality measured up to myth.
About Israel Story: Israel Story is the award-winning podcast that tells extraordinary tales about ordinary Israelis. Often called “the Israeli ‘This American Life,’” we bring you quirky, unpredictable, interesting and moving stories about a place we all think we know a lot about, but really don’t. Produced in partnership with The Times of Israel.