JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of worshippers packed Jerusalem’s Western Wall plaza on Wednesday to receive a blessing from members of Judaism’s priestly caste.
Holding prayers shawls above their heads and covering their faces, the priests, known as “Kohanim” in Hebrew, began chanting the blessing, which begins: “The Lord bless you and keep you”.
The ceremony is held during the Jewish holidays of Passover and Sukkot, the latter of which is being celebrated this week.
A Jewish worshipper prays during a priestly blessing on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
The Kohanim on Wednesday included the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.
“It’s my opportunity to bless the people of Israel,” Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, told reporters.
According to Jewish tradition, Kohanim are descendants of Aaron, Moses’s brother, whose offspring served as priests in the biblical temples of Jerusalem. Many Jews with surnames such as Cohen, Kahan and Katz are Kohanim.
The Western Wall is a remnant of the compound of the Second Temple that was destroyed in 70 AD. It stands today beneath a religious plaza known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller)
A series of social studies textbooks are coming under fire because they make positive references to Christianity and mention Moses and the Ten Commandments.
The Texas Board of Education is voting on the textbooks that state the Ten Commandments were an influence on the founding of the nation and the laws of the country.
The textbooks also contain factual information such as terrorism being linked to Islam and challenges to climate change claims.
“These textbooks were teaching pretty much the opposite of the truth,” Emile Lester, a reviewer from the University of Mary Washington, stated. “You would hope publishers felt their main allegiance be to the education of students, but it was quite obvious that their main goal was to appease members of the State Board of Educators.”
However, supporters of the textbook say the anti-Christian people attempting to stop the books are allowing their hatred of people of faith to influence the truth of the nation’s history.
“[L]et us not forget the religious character of our origin,” American statesman Daniel Webster declared during his famous “Plymouth Oration” in 1820. “Our fathers were brought hither for their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political or literary,” said David Bradley of the State Board of Educators.