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Vail Health Hospital chapel shares replica of Western Wall at open house Sunday

Zoe Goldstein | Vail Daily

Visitors to the Frechette Chapel prayer wall can place notes containing prayers and hopeful thoughts in the cracks

On Sunday, July 16, the Vail Health Foundation hosted an open house at the new prayer wall in the Frechette Chapel in Vail Health Hospital. The Frechette Chapel, which was unveiled in January 2023, is a multi-faith space of spiritual healing within the hospital. The new prayer wall is a replica of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, also known as the Kotel, an ancient religious site of healing.

At the Vail Health Hospital prayer wall, visitors can write prayers or hopeful thoughts on small pieces of paper and place them in cracks between the stones in the wall, just like at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The prayer wall provides the opportunity for silent, private reflection and prayer. As the cracks in the wall fill, the notes will be collected and saved. The notes will never be read, prayed over, or thrown away, but saved forever, in a geniza, or mausoleum specifically set aside in the Jewish part of the Minturn cemetery for this purpose.

The prayer wall in the Vail Health Hospital chapel is the only replica of the Western Wall to exist within a hospital chapel in the United States. The idea was the brainchild of Rabbi Joel D. Newman, of the B’nai Vail Congregation. When Vail Health Hospital officials approached local religious leaders with the plan to redo the hospital’s chapel, Newman envisioned the most powerful spiritual place of healing he could think of: Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

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