U.S. Am­bas­sador Fried­man joins 100,000 other Jews for Passover ‘Pri­estly Bless­ing’

The Jewish Voice - - NEWS IN REVIEW -

A whop­ping 100,000 peo­ple made pil­grim­age to the Old City of Jerusalem on Mon­day for a twice-an­nual mass bless­ing by the Ko­henim—Jewish peo­ple de­scended from the bi­b­li­cal Aharon and des­ig­nated as priests. Among those was U.S. Am­bas­sador to Is­rael David Fried­man.

The mass “Pri­estly Bless­ing” cer­e­mony, for which Jews travel from through­out Is­rael—and some­times, from around the world—only hap­pens on the hol­i­days of Passover and Sukkot. Though the bless­ing was his­tor­i­cally given at the Tem­ple, the West­ern Wall plaza is now the clos­est avail­able site due to Jor­dan's con­trol over the Tem­ple Mount.

On Mon­day morn­ing, male de­scen­dants of the Ko­henim pri­estly caste, raised their hands be­neath their prayer shawls and blessed at­ten­dees with the spe­cial bless­ing pre­scribed by Aharon to be given to the Jewish peo­ple: “May God bless you and pro­tect you. May God shine His coun­te­nance upon you and be gra­cious to you. May God turn His coun­te­nance to­ward you and grant you peace.” (Num­bers 6:24-26)

Fried­man was one of hun­dreds of Ko­henim who gave the bless­ing, and told Kan news that he ar­rived to the mas­sive event with his son and grand­son, who also par­tic­i­pated in giv­ing the bless­ing.

Fried­man told Arutz Sheva that his par­tic­i­pa­tion was es­pe­cially mean­ing­ful to him be­cause of U.S. Pres­i­dent Trump's recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Is­rael.

“It's es­pe­cially mean­ing­ful to be here this year, af­ter the pres­i­dent rec­og­nized Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Is­rael and as we're get­ting ready to move the Em­bassy to Jerusalem,” said Fried­man.

He also spoke about the re­cent Arab ri­ots at the Gaza bor­der, stress­ing that “what I've seen is some­thing very dif­fer­ent than peace­ful protests—very dan­ger­ous ac­tiv­ity, rush­ing the bor­der, throw­ing Molo­tov cock­tails, burn­ing tires, putting women and chil­dren on the front lines.” He warned, “I think it's not in the in­ter­ests of the Pales­tini­ans for that to con­tinue.”

Also in at­ten­dance at the cer­e­mony were Chief Ashke­nazi Rabbi of Is­rael David Lau and Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Is­rael Yitzhak Yosef, as well as Rabbi of the West­ern Wall Shmuel Rabi­novitch.

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