10,000 Jews Attend Tisha B’ab Services at Wailing Wall Despite Darkness, Restrictions

Ten thousand Jews wended their way to the Wailing Wall after sundown Saturday evening despite the oppressive heat and the stringent prohibitions which the government had set down for the services. Owing to the ban on candles and the removal of the customary lamps which the Jews were wont to use during their services at the Wall the reader intoning the Lamentations of Jeremiah resorted to the use of a tiny flickering oil lamp set on a reading table while the crowds either squatted on the bare stones or stood around the reader straining to hear his chant which was more difficult to follow because of the darkness.

Orthodox worshippers, stockinged but without shoes, and hundreds of youthful visitors, some of whom customarily hatless had converted their handkerchiefs into the headgear which is arbitrary, stood patiently throughout the Tish B’Ab ceremony. British constables, who regulated the movement to and from the Wall of the worshippers, stated that ten thousand had visited the Wall during the services, and added that the crowd despite its oppressive density, was the quietest that ever visited the shrine.

In the Old City the Jewish quarter was enveloped in darkness, the shops remained closed and all cafes and cinemas shut down to mark the first anniversary of the riots which occurred last Summer.

Members of the large crowd which thronged to the Wailing Wall did not tarry long because of the pressure of those behind who also wished to participate in the services. The procession to the Wall continued until after midnight. Arabs were not permitted to use the main lane leading to the Wall in order to leave it free for the worshippers.

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