Pope’s Visit Will Disrupt Tefillos at the Kosel

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koselPope Francis will make a trip to Israel next month, but questions have arisen over his planned visit to the Kosel in Yerushalayim.

Israel Hayom reports that Kosel officials have held meetings in recent days with the Israel Police and other security bodies to discuss the visit. The Kosel officials say the scheduled timing of the pope’s visit — 8 a.m. on a Monday — would disrupt Yidden there for Shacharis. They also say that with Monday being one of the two weekdays (the other being Thursday) on which it is customary to hold bar mitzvahs at the wall, the visit would interfere with ceremonies scheduled for that day.

A senior Kosel official told Israel Hayom that kevosikim tefillos, which have been held for the past four decades, rain or shine, cannot be canceled due to the pope’s scheduled visit. They were not canceled on the day of President Barack Obama’s visit last year. The official also noted that around 100 families had already registered to hold bar mitzvah ceremonies on the morning of the pope’s visit, and that 50 more were expected to do so.

Rav Shmuel Rabinowitz, rov of the Kosel, said, “The pope’s visit cannot come at the expense of worshippers or bar mitzvah celebrants. A solution must be found to allow the visit to take place without disrupting worshippers. The Kosel plaza cannot be closed for even one moment due to the visit.”

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}


  1. If we want to be respected for our religious needs in the golus then we must accomodate The Pope, maybe just invite him to the Bar Mitzva I think I would be the first time in history that that would happen. I think is an opportunity to make a Kiddush Hashem instead of Just a Kiddush. in other words no need for controversy!

    ( the Bar mitzvah bucher will remember that the Pope came ti him……oy vay! 🙂 )

  2. Families come from around the world, often at considerable expense, to celebrate Bar Mitzvahs at the Kotel and they deserve to be accommodated. I’m sure the Pope understands the significance of the occasion and would be willing to reschedule his visit for a more convenient time. (Twilight would be a good time as less people are usually there then.)
    The Kotel plaza was not closed for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit so why must it be shut down for the Pope?

  3. To #1 – your comment is tasteless at best. Assuming you are a Rabbi as you claim to be, I hope your sermons are little more tastier…… and more to the point.

  4. #1 Rabbi Avraham Goldstein
    And what Aliya would you give him? Remrmber, he wears a kippa too (no, not a black one).

  5. Maybe the ‘infidel’ would want to take a walk on Har Habayis too?
    Can’t wait to see how our ‘peace-loving’ Yishmaelim cousins would react.

  6. R’ Goldstein, the Pope can come to the Kosel, he just can’t have it closed or disrupted. Allowing a Xtian leader to shut down our Kosel would definitely be a sorry and severe shanda.

  7. Once again! If we want people to respect our religious needs in the exile we MUST consider the consequences of not accommodating the Pope.

    A Jew has to be more smart than right!

  8. we are in galus but we also need to stand up for our rights. besides that the pope is a religous man and will definatly not want prayers disturbed on his expense. and for us it’s a message too, the throne he sits on wanted to wipe us off the face of earth throuhout the generations, it’s good for him to see, “we’re still here…”

  9. #1 I would like you and others to explain to me what your definition of “Kiddush Hashem” is.

    I’m not saying that we should refuse him to come, that wouldn’t be smart.
    But to say that its a Kiddush Hashem? Please see the Rambam (or any other Pirush) on what constitutes a Kiddush Hashem.

  10. I highly doubt it is the pope himself who wants to close the Kosel area, it would be his security. Big difference.

  11. It makes little Difference what we all say here, the Israeli Government will do what is politically correct. They did it for Obama and They will do it for the Pope….

    There are many ways how to look at this But I prefer to insist on the opportunities and the consequences.

    Any time we do an act that make Jews look good it is a Kidush Hashem. Some people get into the Rambam like a shallow Head learning one thing but forgetting another. I think more important than anything is the fact that we are in Golus and all we have now is a Wall to cry to. Some arrogantly think that we own the Kotel….We don’t! Day after day people far from Judaism show up there as a tourist attraction while in Har ha bayis an alien religion look down and throw stones. Stop taking with such an Arrogance and proclaim to the world that the only way out of golus is by divine intervention. The Pope can come and can go as many before him, but what bothers me is that we are not thinking hard enough about this issue.
    The world cares little about our religion but they can’t ignore Jews showing consideration and respect to an alien religious leader. In the long run we might get something in return such as respect and consideration for our religious needs.


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