One of the iconic images of Jerusalem, a city of many such images, is the Western Wall or Kotel.
The Western Wall is the remnant of the retaining walls of the Second Temple on the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great and which was later destroyed by the Romans. The site is the most sacred site, other than the Temple Mount itself, in Judaism and has long served as a symbol of religious devotion and hope.
While I was traveling in Jerusalem, the Kotel quickly became a key reference point for me and I found myself in front of this massive complex many times. Although I am not Jewish, the Wall experience for me was very moving, especially on Friday evening as the Sabbath began and people converged on the Wall en masse for evening prayers.
Luckily, thanks to technology and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, you can have your own Kotel experience . A free app available on the iPhone and iPad, TheKotel allows you to interact with the Wall no matter where you are. I gave it a test run recently and was amazed at how complete it was for a free app. Some of the features include:
- Compass to Jerusalem – Points towards the Kotel based on your current location
- Kotel Complex Map – Interactive map that shows the Temple Mount and Kotel area
- Live WallCam – Watch the goings-on at the Kotel in real time. This is particularly cool on the iPad. Camera is blacked out during the Sabbath.
- Send a Note – Now you can have your own prayer placed in the Western Wall. You can write and send a note or prayer, which will be printed out by staff and placed in the wall.
For anyone who has been to Jerusalem or just anyone who has an interest, this app is a great way to experience the real Kotel.