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Friday, October 17, 2003

Sukkot 5764 draws to a close

According to Arutz Sheva over 400,000 will have visited the Kotel
The day is marked by "Hakafot" - joyous dancing and singing with Torah scrolls as an expression of the Jewish people's happiness at having received the Torah and the opportunity to study it and be governed by its lessons. "Hakafot Shniyot" (Second Hakafot) celebrations throughout the country tomorrow night will mark the conclusion of the holiday.

In other Sukkot news, police estimate that well over 400,000 people will have frequented the Western Wall by the end of the holiday - a record amount. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Western Wall Rabbi, expressed his satisfaction: "These are people who feel a deep connection with Jewish culture and tradition in general, and with the Jewish People's holiest place in particular - a remnant of the days in which the glory of the Jews who ascended to Jerusalem on the holidays flooded the holy city." Among the visitors was Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the venerated Torah sage who recently recovered from a serious illness and who arrived at the Wall daily to recite the blessing over the Four Species.

Sukkot in Hebron

Ultra Orthodox Jews tour the West Bank town of Hebron during the Jewish feast of Sukkot. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

Israeli soldiers escort Jewish settlers [Jews] to a visit in a religious site, traditionally believed to be the burial site of of Biblical Judge Othniel, son of Kenaz, in the Palestinian-controlled area of the southern West Bank city of Hebron Oct 12, 2003. Hundreds of people visited Hebron Sunday during the Jewish holiday of Succot. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

Sukkot in Jericho
Supporters of a Jewish presence in Jericho will commemorate the third anniversary tomorrow of the Palestinian arson of the ancient Shalom al Yisrael synagogue outside the city. The wood synagogue was torched by an Arab mob in October 2000, and the wood structure was burnt to the ground; local Arabs prevented Israeli fire trucks from putting out the fire. The Torah scroll in the Holy Ark was saved, however.

Beginning at 4 PM tomorrow and throughout the night, Torah lessons will be held at Hoglah, the closest Jewish location to Jericho. Hoglah currently has two structures and one family, and can be reached by passengers on the #961 bus from Jerusalem who alight at the Mul Nevo army base.