Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90
Birkat Cohanim 2015

The Birkat Kohanim, the traditional priestly blessing recited during the morning prayers of Passover at the Kotel Plaza, will be held twice over the upcoming holiday to facilitate the tens of thousands of worshippers amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The special event, which is usually only held once on Passover and once on Sukkot, will be held twice this Passover, on Monday and on Tuesday.


The three-verse blessing is recited during a celebratory prayer session during the intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot, normally in the presence of many thousands of people.

Last Passover, amid a spike in COVID-19 infections, the event was limited to a group of only 10 Kohanim due to the Coronavirus restrictions.

At the time, all prayer gatherings were banned in Israel to stem the spread of the virus.

The Birkat Kohanim on the previous Sukkot was held in a very limited fashion and was not opened to the public.

The decline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel appeared to continue over the weekend, with infection data showing continued improvement.

The R coefficient, which indicates the spread of the virus, stood at 0.62 on Sunday, which means it is in retreat. Israel registered 50% fewer COVID-19 cases in the past week than it did in the previous one.

The improvement in Israel’s situation vis-à-vis the Coronavirus is attributed to its success to rapidly vaccinate its population.

Over 5,162,000 Israelis have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, some 55.5% of the population, and over 4.5 million Israelis – about 48.6% – have received the second dose.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu estimated earlier this month that by the end of April the entire adult population in Israel will be vaccinated.


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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.