Women of the Wall to Hold Women’s Priestly Blessing for the First Time at the Kotel

March 21, 2016

On the first day of Hol Hamoed Passover, Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 8:45AM, Women of the Wall will hold a large women’s prayer for freedom at the Western Wall including the Priestly Blessing, Birkat Kohanot- by women, for women.

Women of the Wall invite all women in Israel, including those women who trace their lineage to the priestly class, to participate in this prayer and in Birkat Kohanot. Free transportation will be provided for those all over Israel who wish to join.

This first-ever Birkat Kohanot in the women’s section of the Western Wall is supported by the Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy Estate. Leonard Nimoy, z”l, grew up in South Boston where he attended synagogue with his grandfather and experienced the priestly blessing on Shabbat morning. He is best known for his role as Spock (half-human, half-Vulcan) in Star Trek. Leonard Nimoy employed the ancient symbol of the Priestly Blessing as the Vulcan sign, making it an integral part of his character as Mr. Spock. He took something precious from antiquity and brought it to the “future.” His benediction, “Live Long and Prosper,” takes one of the best messages from the Jewish faith and transforms it into a universal message of peace, purpose and prosperity.

This service will parallel the tradition on major Jewish festivals where men who trace their lineage to the priestly class (kohanim) stand in front of the congregation and bless the people with hands raised and fingers spread, reminding everyone that blessings pass through people from the Divine Source. Women have never been invited to share in this blessing at the Kotel; it has been considered a ritual afforded only to men – even though this discrimination is not rooted in Jewish Law.

A women’s Priestly Blessing- the result of a valued partnership between WOW and the Nimoy Estate- is the perfect opportunity to offer women a unique, spiritual and empowering experience on the Jewish world’s stage: the Western Wall.

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