More than 55,000 people will be hosted by members of the religious Zionist movement this year in 55 different locations around Israel to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana.
It is a new project that celebrates the 16th year of the Yom Kippur ‘Praying Together’ program carried out in 295 locations and sponsored by Tzohar, the religious Zionist rabbinical organization in Israel.
After 15 years of successful and expanding Yom Kippur programs, Tzohar will now also host families to hear and learn about the shofar and its importance during the Rosh Hashana prayers.
Over 350 Tzohar volunteers and their families are being placed all around the country to accommodate all those communities who wish to participate. “Going to a religious synagogue can be an intimidating and sometimes off-putting experience for someone who doesn’t regularly attend or associate with that particular community,” said Rabbi David Stav, co-founder of Tzohar.
“We have seen such an outpouring of desire for Jewish connection by the secular community, especially relating the High Holidays, that we knew something had to be done to accommodate them.
“By moving these important Jewish life cycle events to a neutral locations – such as community centers or event halls – it becomes more much inviting and accessible for anyone interested in connecting with their Jewish tradition.” All attendees are provided with the same siddur or machzor to make it easier to follow along, as well as with explanatory pamphlet written by Tzohar about the customs, prayers and meaning of the High Holidays to help guide the participant throughout the services. “Tzohar is continuously adding additional programs to encourage Jewish participation in life cycle events,” said Yakov Gaon, Executive Vice President of Tzohar.
“The powerful reaction to the Yom Kippur program and our other holiday activities showed the excitement and connection people feel. Adding Rosh Hashana programming was a natural next step.”