Thousands of Jewish worshippers are expected to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron on Yom Kippur this year. As in previous years, there is great demand for lodging for visitors from abroad as well as Israelis.
But this year, for this first time, Hevron community leaders are racing to arrange lodging with a vision of tens of thousands visiting the site.
Associations including the Tomb Heritage Foundation, Hospitality Hevron, the Religious Council of Kiryat Arba-Hevron, have partnered with the director of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and local community leaders to make this possible.
Military commanders and local organizers arranged that the Cave of the Patriarchs, as well Ohel Yitzhak and Rivka, will be open to Jews only on Yom Kippur this year.
Organizers have established prayer seminars and separate places of worship for Jews with different ethicities, customs, and liturgies at the holy site.
It is expected that, as last year, influential community leaders and rabbis, and large organized groups, will come to Hevron for the fast.
The organizers stressed that local rabbis, in conjunction with the Rabbinical Committee overseeing the holy sites, have decided the hospitality, which entails mandatory advance registration, is exclusively for men, in order to preserve the great sanctity of the day and prevent it from becoming a social occasion.
Yom Kippur is not a family holiday, men spend the entire day at synagogue and many stay until very late saying extra prayers after the Kol Nidre service on the eve of the fast. Physical contact between man and wife is forbidden. Each person is expected to search his soul and repent for his own past transgressions.
Registrants will receive lodging, access to prayer seminars, and the customary pre-fast meal before Yom Kippur.
Organizers say they have received a great many requests from individuals and groups from all Orthodox Jews circles, seeking to spend Yom Kippur at the Cave of the Patriarchs.
Worshipers seeking hosting in Hevron and access to the Cave of the Patriarchs on Yom Kippur in Hevron should contact organizers soon at 052-429-5550.