Sunday, October 10, 2004

During the Succot holiday, over 40,000 people visited Hebron, praying at Ma'arat HaMachpela and touring the Jewish neighborhoods in the city.
On Sunday and Monday all of Ma'arat HaMachpela was open to Jewish visitors, including Ohel Yitzhak - the Isaac Hall. The entire building was packed with worshipers. At times, over 3,000 people filled the huge structure atop the Caves of Machpelah. Others stood in line outside, waiting to enter the building. Monday's events included the semi-annual Hebron music festival, which included the best of Hassidic music in Israel today. Over 10,000 people sang and danced to the tunes of Haim David, Soul Farm, Amiram Dvir, and many others, who sweetened the Succot celebrations with their lively music.

Some 20,000 people participated in the annual Sukkot holiday Jerusalem Parade Monday, starting from the Yad Kennedy memorial in southern Jerusalem and stretching 9 miles towards the city center. About 12,000 participated last year, according to city officials. Included in the march was an estimated 4,000 Evangelical Christians from 80 nations.

Tens of thousands of people - 35,000, according to ISRAEL RADIO - participated in the semi-annual Birkat Cohanim ceremony at the Western Wall plaza Sunday. The event takes place twice each year, on the 3rd or 4th day of the Sukkot and Pesach holidays. It features special holiday prayers in which up to hundreds of Cohanim - descendants of Aaron the Priest - jointly blessing the congregants. At the same time, dozens of religious Jews visited the Temple Mount.

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