Part of a solidarity blog series for Women of the Wall. Each piece is written by a member of the Rosh Hodesh group of Congregation B'nai Israel.
My first experience seeing the Kotel was after sundown on a Yom Kippur. We were on our way to a Break Fast with a very close friend from home - a kid I grew up with who was like a brother. I was to have been visiting and traveling with him but, after making Aliyah, he went into the army. So when I arrived I went to his apartment and was staying with his roommates.
He came home for the holiday and we went to his friends for Yom Kippur. Of course, I didn't even get to sit with him in Shul either. So after sundown we went to Yerushalayim and the Old City before joining other friends to eat. I actually was on the rooftops looking down, and then we went into the plaza of the Kotel. I'm glad I was with 'family', even though he didn't come in the women's side, but was waiting when I was finished.
Yom Kippur services, Yizkor (memorial), my prayers, and the notes at the wall, and being with a person who is family, was the perfect first time to have this incredible, moving experience. It was still early, and the Kotel was quiet and still, and fairly empty.