Wailing Wall


Wailing Wall (WAY-l-ing WAWL) listen


Example Sentences

  • "The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is the site I visit the most since I live in the Holy Land, I go to it whenever the urge to take photos overwhelms me." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • English


  • The word 'wailing' comes from the noise made when Jews pray at the Wall.

    • Who Uses This

      • Israel: Diaspora Jews who feel connected to Israel and have spent time there
      • Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)


      • North America


      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).


  • "This name is rarely used by Jews because of its negative connotations." (JPS)

    "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 Kotel and Western Wall.

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