Twelve synagogue gabbaim (sextons) have been chosen to receive special awards at a national convention to be held in two weeks, with the participation of Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin.
The 12 will receive a “Life’s Work for Serving the Public Faithfully” award. Chosen out of a list of dozens of nominees from around the country, the 12 represent synagogues in Jerusalem, Tiberias, Haifa, Gush Etzion, Kibbutz Ein HaNatziv in the Jordan Valley and elsewhere around the country.
The project is the initiative of the weekly B’Sheva newspaper and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Rabbi Metzger and B’Sheva director Dudu Saada spoke with Arutz-7’s Uzi Baruch about the project. “We offer a prayer every Sabbath for those who ‘serve the public faithfully,’” Rabbi Metzger explained, “but we leave it for G-d to ‘pay his reward.’ We felt that it would be appropriate for us to choose the best of the best – because each one is of course a pearl in his own community – and with hard work, we came up with 12 of the absolute best…”
Saada said that the plan is to expand the venture to the United States, and give recognition to gabbaim in at least some of the thousands of synagogues from coast to coast.
The ceremony will take place at the Regency Hotel in Jerusalem on January 25, and will include exhibits of synagogue furniture, synagogue software, photographs of synagogues from around the world, and more.
The public is invited, from 4 p.m., to take part and hear lectures on topics such as uniting the community, opening an Orthodox synagogue to secular and traditional visitors, how to bring “life” into synagogues, gabbai kits, Torah scroll insurance, synagogue laws and customs and more. Speakers will include Rabbi Metzger, Rabbi Ratzon Arusi, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, and Eliezer Sheffer.