New Jersey Launches Virtual Portal, Bringing Wishes of Unity, Hope and Resilience from the Garden State to The Western Wall This Holiday Season
TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism (NJTT), in partnership with the New Jersey-Israel Commission and Israel Ministry of Tourism, has today launched a digital portal on VisitNJ.org that enables New Jersey residents and visitors the opportunity to virtually participate in the tradition of leaving prayerful notes at the famed Western Wall—electronically and without the need of a passport.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions, NJTT’s new virtual gateway will allow individuals of all faiths to submit personalized, spiritual e-Notes on its website. The e-Notes will be transmitted overseas, printed under stringent privacy protocols, and delivered to the religious site in the Old City of Jerusalem by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, under the direction of the Office of the Prime Minister. Tradition dedicates that once a message is placed among the wall’s stones, the inscribed wish is read by Divine Presence.
“We invite homebound travelers to encounter a truly Israeli experience, but through the ease and accessibility of their digital devices. For centuries, millions of people have been moved to connect to the holy and historic Western Wall. During these challenging times, I am honored that our state leads as a global example of peace, hope and good will. This initiative serves as a testament to the enduring friendship between Israel and New Jersey,” said New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way.
“The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall or the Kotel, is one the most visited sites in Israel by people of all faiths, and it is considered one of the holiest sites to many religions,” said NJTT Executive Director Jeff Vasser. “We are proud to bring this timely and introspective e-messaging concept to light during the holiday season with our outstanding partners from Israel Ministry of Tourism and by the extraordinary vision of the New Jersey-Israel Commission Executive Director Andrew Gross.”
“While New Jersey and Israel may be far apart, this hopeful and spiritual program shows that we have truly never been closer. New Jersey is one of the top destinations for Israelis in the world, and thanks to the strong partnership we have with New Jersey Travel and Tourism, this exciting and innovative opportunity reflects the overall importance of that relationship. I look forward to even more cooperation next year in this critical sector,” said New-Jersey Israel Commission Executive Director Andrew Gross.
Built by Herod the Great around 19 BCE as part of the expansion of the Second Jewish Temple, the Western Wall is the sole, western flank remnant of the limestone retaining wall surrounding the Temple Mount complex, measuring approximately 187 ft. in its exposed section. The Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE. Jewish law instructs the faithful to pray toward the temple and Holy of Holies; the Western Wall is the closest of the four walls to the Holy of Holies, where belief dictates the Divine’s Presence remains. Today, the Western Wall stands beneath a religious plaza known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif.
Submit your e-Notes for placement in the Western Wall at VisitNJ.org. Follow the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for more events and news throughout the state. Follow the New Jersey-Israel Commission on Twitter.
About New Jersey. New Jersey provides a wide variety of experiences to visitors all year long. Travelers can enjoy outdoor adventures, renowned culinary offerings, educational opportunities, and a strong arts and cultural scene. With numerous state and national parks, beaches, skiing, tax-free shopping, historic sites, museums and more, New Jersey blends together its rich history and exciting present. Home to the nation’s first beach resorts and the birthplace of major inventions, New Jersey offers picturesque escape opportunities for all ages. For more information, explore VisitNJ.org.
About the New Jersey-Israel Commission. The mission of the New Jersey-Israel Commission (NJIC) is to foster economic, scientific, educational and cultural ties with the State of Israel, one of New Jersey's most important trading partners. In 1988, under Governor Thomas H. Kean, a Sister State Agreement was signed between the State of Israel and the State of New Jersey. The New Jersey-Israel Commission was established in 1989 to implement the goals of this agreement. For more information, visit NJIC.