For centuries, people have written prayers on scraps of paper and stuffed them into the ancient cracks in the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. In recent years they could fax or e-mail their prayers — and now they can tweet them, too.
The Western Wall now has its own address on Twitter allowing believers around the globe to have their prayers placed between its 2,000-year-old stones without leaving their armchairs.
The service’s founder, Alon Nil, 25, says petitioners can tweet their short prayers — limited to 140 characters — to http://twitter.com/theKotel, or send them in a direct message for privacy, and they will be printed out and taken to the wall.
The young economist started the Twitter page three weeks ago and has already received hundreds of prayers.
“It all started awhile after the riots in Iran, and I realized the potential of Twitter,” Nil said. “There are an infinite number of uses for Twitter, and I thought, ‘What can I do that is new and creative and might benefit the people of Israel?’ “
Nil monitors Twitter and runs a companion website, tweetyourprayers.info, as a hobby, but he hopes his small operation can help unite people worldwide.
“You name the country, I’ve gotten prayers from them,” he said. “I hope in some way that by tweeting their prayers, these people are helping themselves somehow. Once you figure out what you want, in 140 characters or less, you can start to take action.”
Nil wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming interest in his venture. On Thursday night, he had more than 1,000 unread messages.
“I’m swamped. I can’t keep up with all the tweets,” he said. “I can’t keep maintaining it by myself. But I’m determined to not lose even one prayer.”