More than 8,600 prayers from John Paul II exhibit placed at Western Wall

Prayers, weighing more than 31 pounds, were placed on behalf of visitors | March 3, 2006

More than 8,600 prayers, written by visitors to an exhibit about the late Pope John Paul II and his relationship with the Jewish people, were delivered to the Western Wall in Jerusalem on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 28.

The prayers, totaling 8,650 and weighing more than 31 pounds, were placed on behalf of the visitors to "A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People" by the exhibit’s four co-directors: William Madges, chair of the department of theology, James Buchanan, director for the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, Rabbi Abie Ingber, executive director of the Hillel Jewish Student Center of Cincinnati and Yaffa Eliach, professor of Judaic Studies and founder of the Shtetl Foundation. The trip was supported by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.

Part of the 1,800-square-foot exhibit, which chronicles the late pontiff’s life-long relationship with the Jewish people, includes a replica of the Western Wall, in which visitors are encouraged to place their prayers. Nearly 4,000 prayers were placed in the wall after "A Blessing to One Another" premiered at Xavier last May on what would have been the pontiff’s 85th birthday. More than 7,300 people visited the exhibit while it was at Xavier.

The exhibit is on display at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., until April. Several thousand additional prayers written at the Center will also be taken to Jerusalem. The exhibit next travels to Pittsburgh and then opens in New York City in the fall of 2006.