On June 7th, 1967, Israeli paratroopers liberated the Old City of Jerusalem. Soon, thousands upon thousands of Jews thronged to the Western Wall, the only remnant of our Temple. After years of yearning to touch the stones that tell the story of our history, we had returned home to Jerusalem.
The discoveries made during the excavations that followed our return to Jerusalem were astounding. The entire length of the Western Wall was discovered, much of it underground in the Western Wall Tunnels. Within the Tunnels, 2,000 years of history came to life in the Herodian Hall, the Hasmonean Aqueduct, Opposite the Holy of Holies, and so much more.
In 1988, the government of Israel established the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. The Foundation's objective is to convey to all segments of the Jewish people the values inherent in the heritage of the Western Wall, to preserve and develop the Western Wall and its Tunnels, and to develop educational frameworks that make Jews everywhere feel closer to Jerusalem.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation is involved in physically maintaining and renovating the area of the Western Wall. This includes paving and expanding the Western Wall Plaza, preserving the stones of the Wall, and preparing the Western Wall Tunnels for the close to 3 million visitors who have, so far, been awed by them.
The Foundation works in conjunction with other government organizations, religious authorities, and archeologists in the continued exploration of our past through meticulous excavations.
As befits our mission to convey the legacy and heritage of Jerusalem to Jews everywhere, our Education Department develops and runs scores of programs. We have programs suited for every age, from 1st grade to adults, and for every population from soldiers and new immigrants in Israel, to Hebrew teachers in the Ukraine and campers in the United States. We offer six different programs for Bar and Bat Mitzva children, both in and out of Israel.
The Western Wall, to which Jews everywhere turn in prayer, belongs to us all. We are all links in the Jewish chain of generations that began here in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation seeks to make that connection come alive by reminding us all that we are linked to each other, to our heritage, and to our Jerusalem.