by Abe Selig
Thousands of Jewish worshipers throng the Western Wall Plaza for Priestly Blessing.
Thousands of Jewish worshipers thronged the Western Wall Plaza Thursday morning to take part in the bi-annual Priestly Blessing, which usually occurs on the second intermediate days of Sukkot and Pesach.
Massive police presence ensured that the prayers passed peacefully and without incident.
During the previous priestly blessing in October 2009 massive rioting broke out on the Temple Mount and throughout east Jerusalem, following rumors circulated by Muslim priests that spoke of a "Jewish plot" to take over the incendiary holy site.
Nonetheless on Thursday, the atmosphere in and around the Old City was calm, although police said they were taking no chances and would deal with any attempt to disrupt the peace with "a firm hand."
The blessing, known in Hebrew as the Birkat Hakohanim, is a public gathering in which the Kohanim – the priestly class – bestow upon the Jewish people a three-fold blessing that originated with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.