More than 13,000 people visited Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel) on Thursday as the anniversary of the Biblical matriarch’s passing approaches.
This year the anniversary of the matriarch Rachel’s passing falls on the Sabbath, when observant Jews do not travel. Those marking the anniversary are compensating by moving celebrations of her life to the days immediately before and after.
So far everything has gone smoothly, says Rabbi Yosef Shwinger, who oversees the site. The credit goes to bus drivers who have avoided causing traffic snarls and worshipers who have chosen to move through the site relatively quickly, allowing others to take their place, he said.
Staff at the site held several meetings with security personnel, police and more while arranging events, he noted. The site has been the scene of attacks on several previous occasions; in one particularly severe instance, Jewish worshipers were stranded inside the prayer compound as dozens of Arabs launched an attack outside.
To keep traffic moving at the site private vehicles will not be allowed in until after the memorial celebrations. Those traveling by car can park at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium and take a shuttle bus to the tomb. Egged’s 163 bus goes to the site from Jerusalem’s central bus station.