Thousands of Jews have been attending the traditional Selichot (penitential) prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem in recent days, ahead of the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur marks the end of the Ten Days of Repentance, which began on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. This period usually sees a surge in visitors to the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, some for purposes of prayer while others, including many secular Israelis, to experience its special atmosphere. There are also "Selichot tours" of the Tower of David and the Jewish Quarter.
Today (Monday), a day before the Yom Kippur holiday begins at sunset tomorrow, Israel's two chief rabbis will preside over the main Selichot service at the Western Wall. The Yom Kippur fast will begin shortly on Tuesday just before sunset and end 25 hours later.
This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by Israel Hayom at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=37033