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Israeli Jews bless the sun in rare 28-year prayer

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Israeli Jews bless the sun in rare 28-year prayer

Post  Admin on Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:10 am

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Tens of thousands of Jewish faithful turned out before sunrise on Wednesday in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the country to bless the sun in a prayer said once every 28 years.

Dressed in white prayer shawls, men and women, adults and children filled the plaza in front of the wall, Judaism's holiest site, and crowded onto nearby rooftops to catch a glimpse of the sun rising over the Holy City.

As the faithful swayed back and forth in prayer, the area filled with the din of the Birkat Hakhama prayer.

Elsewhere around Israel and the occupied West Bank, tens of thousands of observant Jews sought out hilltops and rooftops to catch the first rays of the sun to recite the prayer.

Birkat Hakhama is said as the sun comes up to mark what according to Jewish tradition is the sun's return to its position at the moment that the universe was created 5,769 years ago. It returns to the spot once every 28 years.

The prayer has special significance this year because it coincides with the start of the Passover holiday, one of Judaism's most important, at sundown on Wednesday.

The Wailing Wall, also called the Western Wall, sits below the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest place.


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