Spring cleaning for Western Wall's notes to God

JERUSALEM, March 20 (Reuters) - Even God's mailbox needs a spring cleaning.

Equipped with long sticks, a team of cleaners on Tuesday gouged out written prayers that visitors to Judaism's Western Wall in Jerusalem traditionally cram into its crevices.

Twice a year, the Rabbi of the Western Wall oversees the collection of thousands of notes to ensure there's always room for more. The papers are then buried on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives in accordance with ritual.

The Western Wall is a remnant of the compound of the Second Temple that was destroyed in 70 AD. It stands today beneath a religious plaza known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

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Spring cleaning at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
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Spring cleaning at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
A man uses a stick to clear notes placed in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, to create space for new notes ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem's Old City, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz and a worker clear notes placed in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, to create space for new notes ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem's Old City, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
A man uses a stick to clear notes placed in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, to create space for new notes ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem's Old City, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Men, including Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, clear notes placed in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, to create space for new notes ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem's Old City, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Men clear notes placed in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, to create space for new notes ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem's Old City, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
A man uses a stick to clear notes placed in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, to create space for new notes ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem's Old City, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Men clear notes placed in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, to create space for new notes ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem's Old City, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
A man uses a stick to clear notes placed in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, to create space for new notes ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem's Old City, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
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(Writing by Jeffrey Heller Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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