Thousands gather at Western Wall for priestly blessing
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Thousands gather at Western Wall for priestly blessing

Event is a reminder of the Jewish pilgrimages of temple times

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Jewish worshipers cover themselves with prayer shawls at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, March 28, 2013 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Jewish worshipers cover themselves with prayer shawls at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, March 28, 2013 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Thousands gathered at the Western Wall plaza in the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday to celebrate the traditional priestly blessing performed during the Passover festival.

During the ceremony, hundreds of kohanim — descendants of the caste of priests in charge of ritual in the temple destroyed by Rome 2,000 years ago — blessed the crowds packed into the esplanade beside the Temple Mount.

The ceremony is performed every day in synagogues across Israel. But the blessing at the Western Wall draws massive crowds during the Passover and Sukkot holidays, hearkening back to the Jewish pilgrimages that would take place during those festivals in temple times.

The seven-day Passover festival began on Monday night.

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