The Matzav Shmoooze: Sanitary Conditions at the Kosel


koselDear readers,

I feel hesitant to address this, but I must. The Kosel is the holiest place on earth, so why are the restrooms there so dirty and unclean? This question really bothered me the other day when I went to the Kosel to daven. After I finished davening, I made a quick stop at the bathroom. The condition of the bathroom completely shocked me. The men’s bathroom was so dirty and unsanitary, it made the public restrooms elsewhere look clean. All the open stalls were out of toilet paper, and the walls were marked up. The puddles on the floor made it very unsanitary and the guy smoking in the next stall made it unbreathable. I assume you get the picture.

The Kosel plaza is kept so clean, and for good reason, so I wonder why the bathrooms are treated differently.

I went to the person in charge of maintenance to find out what was going on, and he told me that all the bathroom cleaners are Muslims and they take off on their holidays (I assumed he meant Ramadan.) Really? You mean the State of Israel couldn’t find any Jews to do maintenance at the Kosel? I’m not buying that  excuse.

Let us hope that after publishing this letter, we’ll never have this problem again. readers, please do all you can to have this problem corrected.

M. Gordon

Jerusalem, Israel


The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

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  1. i beg to differ as i live in jerusalem i am at the kotel often and i must disagree and say that the matzav of the bathrooms usually are quite decent so please dont slight our bathrooms

  2. im there every morning for vasikin and the bathrooms are always passable , it would seem that your experience is a one time thing.

    yes they could find jews to do it but they take much more money and we live in tough times.

  3. You’re hesitant to address it but you “must”. Please explain why you must. I personally had no problems in the Kosel bathrooms but if you did, why MUST you speak about it?

  4. I have never found the bathrooms to be a problem. In fact, when I make the long trip to the kotel from outside of Jerusalem, I always know there are clean bathrooms waiting for me there.
    I have never found them to be dirty. This is a one time occurance.

  5. I was at the Kosel recently for Shabbos evening Tefillos. The restrooms were perfectly clean and there were thousands of people around.

  6. I haven’t been there recently, but over the period 1-5 years ago the bathrooms at the kosel were great. Always clean enough … considering the heavy traffic … and many times there was someone in the process of giving them a mid-day once-over. Given the situation around Yerushalayim, those bathrooms were something to look forward to. I hope the situation isn’t deteriorating.

  7. I agrre whole heartedly as on Shabbos on many occasions there is an inadequate supply of cut toilet paper, excluding the inclean environment there.

    Legend has it that when someone came to visit Hagoan Rav Yacov Kaminetsky ZTL,(at his home in Monsey)(that) he would voluntarily tell the visitor where the bathroom was so as not to make the visitor feel uncomfortable about them asking of its location.

    May the Status of the bathrooms improve speedily and in its zchus may we merit the coming of the geulah shlamoh.

  8. Why is everyone giving this person a hard time? It is very possible that restrooms could be very much in need of tidying up. Is that so hard to accept? If he is correct, and I assume he is, then his excellent point should be embraced by the custodial staff.

  9. Mr. Gordon,

    It is interesting to note that you went to the bathroom after you finished davening.

    Before worrying about the cleanliness of the bathroom, you should be concerned about the cleanliness of your own guf.

    You should use the bathroom before you daven. Not after!! Your responsibility is to keep your body clean for davening. Let the muslim workers worry about the toilets!!

  10. Perhaps an organization can be formed, via donation of ‘Acheinu Bnai Yisroel, for upkeep of


    As Our Sages(CHAZAL) and our Poskim continually discuss and encoraage” KOVOD HABRIYOS”.

    There is no more opportune area than near the Kosel to fulfill this most worthy concept.

  11. Found the bathrooms to be quite clean and it is probable that maintenance is low due to the Muslim holiday.
    Cmon we all know that the majority of service jobs in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem is done by Arabs.

  12. Mr. Gordon, You are 100% correct. I have always found the sanitary condition of the bathrooms to be be below par. Perhaps, some people are bothered about bringing up anything negative about eretz yisroel , as we see at the end of mesechet kesuvos. However, if this article will rectify the situation (i dont know how) then it would be a great tikun to the situation.
    In addition, it seems that different people have different people have different standards which they consider acceptable. However, it definitely does not have the same standard of cleanliness of even the airport.

  13. The Israelis have turned the koisel into a state attraction with their irreligious ceremonies, army parties, laser light shows etc. Moshiach will clean the Israelis out and whatever Arabs are left will happily clean the bathrooms for nothing.

    And you guys who bashed Mr. Gordon really need to get a life. Your comments were meanspirited and totally uncalled for. People have a right to expect sanitary conditions in public places. Yeah, it’s still Eretz Yisroel, not New York.