"Imprison 7 Youths for Blowing Shofar at Wailing Wall on Yom Kippur," Chicago Sentinel, 2 October, 1947
An article that appeared in the Chicago Sentinel on the 2 October, 1947 describing the arrest of seven Jewish youths who blew the shofar at the end of the Yom Kippur prayers at the Wailing Wall. The article continues to detail the violent incident that led to their arrest and imprisonment without trial at the Latrun detention camp.
Throughout history, the city of Jerusalem, and specifically the area of the Temple Mount, the Wailing Wall and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, was always a place of religious and political friction between Jews, Arabs, and the different rulers of Jerusalem. Jews aspired to exercise their rights to pray at the holiest Jewish sites. Muslims were concerned that the Jews were trying to extend their rights at the Wall with the ultimate intention of taking possession of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The first disputes over the Wall occurred in the early 1920s. In 1922 a status quo agreement was issued by the British authorities prohibiting the placing of chairs or benches next to the Wailing Wall for the Jewish worshippers. Mandatory policemen were stationed at the Wall to make sure that Jews were not seated. Other orders included a ban on the erection of a screen between the men and women.
In August 1929, after attacks on individual Jews praying at the Wall, Jews demonstrated in Tel Aviv, declaring "the Wall is ours." The following day riots broke out, first at the Wailing Wall, then spreading to other regions, and culminating in the Hebron Massacre.
In 1930, in response to the riots, the Mandatory government appointed a commission "to determine the rights and claims of Muslims and Jews in connection with the Western or Wailing Wall." The commission concluded that the area surrounding the Wall was owned by the Muslim authorities but that the Jews had right to "free access to the Western Wall for the purpose of devotions at all times." Nevertheless, restrictions were placed on worship at the Wall including a ban on seats and on blowing the shofar. During the 1930s, young Jews persistently flouted the shofar ban at the conclusion of Yom Kippur and blew the shofar, resulting in their arrest and prosecution. They were usually fined or sentenced to imprisonment for three to six months.
This article, from the National Library of Israel's collection of historical Jewish press, presents one of the historical events that occurred at the Wailing Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. This article could be included in discussions about the political and religious tensions surrounding religious sites in the Holy City.
What event does this article describe?
Why were Jews prevented from blowing the shofar at the Wailing Wall?What did the laws prohibiting Jewish prayer at the Wall attempt to achieve?
Are Jews free to visit and pray at the Wailing Wall today?Do the tensions between the faiths still exist today?
Jerusalem is a holy city to Jews, Christians and Muslims. What is the reason for Jerusalem's special status?
Imagine that you are appointed to participate in an international committee on interfaith cooperation in Jerusalem. Suggest ways to enable people of different faiths to worship freely in Jerusalem. Suggest ways to strengthen the trust and cooperation between the different people living and worshipping in the Holy City.