Photo: Rebecca Lesses
Women's section of the Western Wall
The Western Wall (Kotel) is one of the retaining walls that supports the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It is holy to Jews because it is the closest place to pray near where the Temple stood two thousand years ago, before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. According to Jewish law, Jews should not ascend to the Temple Mount because no one today is pure enough to enter the area where the Temple once stood - and it retains its sanctity. Therefore, traditional Jews will pray at the Western Wall. Since the Six Day War of June, 1967, the area has been transformed into an outdoor Orthodox synagogue, so that there are separate prayer areas for women and men. The women's section is smaller than the men's, and has become even smaller because of construction work right next to it, due to damage caused by a small earthquake several years ago.