Michael A. Zimmerman

Under Wilson’s Arch at the Western Wall, men pray and study at tables covered with velvet cloths. In this area, prayerbooks and other ritual items are protected from inclement weather and are available to worshippers who pray here as they do along the exposed wall outside. Throughout this portion of the wall, the stones are about four feet high and four or more feet long. About half of the 45-foot-wide span of Wilson’s Arch is seen in the background. In the shadow at the rear of the hall, an entrance leads to the Rabbinical Tunnel which is being excavated along the western wall’s underground portion. From that excavation, an Iranian immigrant carts a wheelbarrow full of debris to the prayer hall’s exit at the plaza in front of the Western Wall. The grate on the floor, in the right foreground, protects the shaft sunk by Captain Charles Warren in the 1860s. Through this grate may be seen the 14 courses of the western Temple Mount wall which still lie buried between the floor and the bedrock.