Example Sentences

  • "I'm going to pray at the Kotel tomorrow."

  • "The Kotel is holy because it is the last remnant of the Temple."

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew


  • כותל 'lit. wall', short for הכותל 'the Wall' or הכותל המערבי 'the Western Wall'

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
      • Israel: Diaspora Jews who feel connected to Israel and have spent time there


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).

      Alternative Spellings

      kosel, koysel, koysl, kosl


  • "Before 1967, the Old City section of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, was under Jordanian control, and Jews were forbidden to visit it. Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War reunified Jerusalem and opened the entire city to all people.
    Today, this remnant of a holy building is revered by Jews who gather on a large, open plaza in front of it to pray. Many visitors to the Wall write their prayers, thoughts, or wishes on a scrap of paper and then wedge it in between the Kotel’s massive stones. Some American children hold their Bar or Bat Mitzvah service at the Wall. The plaza is divided into separate sections for men and women, in keeping with Orthodox demands. Recently, the Western Wall has become the focus of controversy, as Orthodox sects seek to limit women’s access and participation in services at the Wall by violently attempting to disperse them." (JPS)

    See also Western Wall and Wailing Wall.

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