A special Slichot event was held Monday (August 30) in the Old Synagogue of the Yemenite village – Kfar HaShiloach – at the initiative of the Public Council of the Kfar Hashiloach Heritage Center, chaired by advocate Gadi Bashari, who also serves as member of the board of the Zionist Archives.
Many members of the Yemenite community in Israel took part in the event, bringing along with them Yemenite shofars which they blew in the ancient synagogue during the Slichot recitation.
The Slichot ceremony was attended by Yaakov Hagouel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, and Elyakim Rubinstein, former Vice President of the Supreme Court, along with Netanel Izak, Director General of the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Hagit Moshe (Habayit Hyehudi) and MKs Tzachi Hanegbi, Eli Cohen, Keren Barak and Ofir Katz ( Likud).
The blowing of the shofars recreates the blowing of the shofar in Kfar HaShiloach as presented by the author Israel Zarchi in his book ‘The Novel of Kfar Hashiloach’ published back in 1948.
His daughter is the poet and author Nurit Zarchi – the winner of the Israel Prize for literature.
In preparation for the event, Gadi Bashari visited Zarchi’s home and shared with her the intention of recreating the event in light of her father’s book. During the exciting meeting, Zarhi said: “This is so emotional to me, and it is amazing that this living thing has remained of my father’s memory”.
Bashari said, “Blowing the Yemenite Shofar in the synagogue is part of the activities of the public council to commemorate the story of Kfar HaShiloach, the first settlement of the Yemenite community after making their famous Aliya to Eretz Yisrael in the 1880’s.”
Netanel Izak, Director General of the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry, said, “The amazing hold of Yemenite Jewry to their tradition, making sure to attend the ceremony of blowing the shofars and reciting Slichot in the village of Silwan every year, is a very exciting event and especially a lesson for life about perseverance and devotion to the Jewish tradition, so that it is passed down from generation to generation.”
The chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Yaakov Hagoel, said, “‘And sons shall return to their borders’, it is exciting to see Jewish families returning to settle in the place from which they were expelled. I will do my best to assist any Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel.”
Former Supreme Court Vice President Justice Eliakim Rubinstein, said: “It is great excitement and ancient grandeur is seen, giving us a sense that ‘the city be built on its ruins’ when seeing the renovation of the ancient synagogue and giving expression to the ancient Yemenite tradition, their huge dedication and devotion to come here in the Ottoman period and live here is much inspiring.”