Orthodox Jews receive priestly blessing in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (AP) — Thousands of Orthodox Jews have received a ritual blessing at Jerusalem's Western Wall, their faith's holiest site.

The priestly blessing is a ritual dating back more than 2,500 years, when King Solomon's Temple stood at the same site.

Thursday's gathering was on the Passover holiday, which is one of three times each year when religious Jews are expected to make a brief pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Michael Ben David, a Jewish American who attended the blessing ceremony with his wife and children, said "We didn't deserve to be here but the Almighty loves us so very much and he took us out of Egypt and I came from America for this moment."

The blessing was recited in Hebrew while the faithful covered their heads with prayer shawls.

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