Nearly 100 handwritten prayers brought from Tyler to Jerusalem - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Nearly 100 handwritten prayers brought from Tyler to Jerusalem

Tyler prayers in the Western Wall. (Source: Facebook) Tyler prayers in the Western Wall. (Source: Facebook)

A Tyler rabbi has made sure East Texans’ prayers are heard. 

We spoke with Rabbi Neal Katz in a phone interview in July while he was in Israel on a trip. Katz went with a group from Tyler, made up of both Jews and Christians, who were visiting the country together. 

Before his trip, he collected prayers to take to the Western Wall where he would place them for those who could not make the trip. It’s a long standing tradition that brought a little piece, or pieces of Tyler, to rest far away in Israel.

In a picture, handwritten prayers from East Texans can be seen stuffed in the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

“The Western Wall is the western most retaining wall of the Temple Mount, which is where the temple of old Jerusalem used to stand and the reason why that area is considered particularly holy, is because that would be the closest you could stand to where the Holy of Holies once was,” Rabbi Neal Katz, of Beth El Congregation, said.

It’s a decades old tradition with millions of prayers tucked in the cracks of the wall each year. Rabbi Katz decided to put out a box at a table during International Day at Tyler Junior College before his trip.

“What I thought would be nice is anybody who came to the International Day: the TJC students, staff, faculty, visitors, to have an opportunity to write a prayer to put in the Western Wall since I was going to be going in June,” he explained.

East Texans from all religious backgrounds wrote down their prayers.

“They would fold it up and I would take some time and put it in the wall. So, just a nice way to allow for some people from Tyler to send their prayers through the Western Wall,” he explained.

Nearly one hundred prayers traveled thousands of miles from Tyler to Jerusalem.

“They would write very personal things about their personal family or their prayers for their own life, and then there are people who write prayers for world peace and for nations to not be at war anymore and prayers for Israel,” he said, though he did not read any of the prayers he took.

All of them are small notes with big messages. The Western Wall is considered one of the holiest places due to its location and history. Those notes are cleaned out each year to make room for new ones.

The old notes are kept in a sacred area nearby.

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