Daily Israel Report

Video: Slichot - Carlebach Style, and at the Kotel

As Ashkenazi Jews began reciting "Slichot", a musical service was held in Jerusalem and thousands prayed at the Western Wall..
By Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 9/9/2012, 9:22 AM

Shofar near the Kotel
Shofar near the Kotel
Flash 90

The Ashkenazi Jewish community throughout the world,joined the Sephardi sector Saturday night, in reciting the daily slichot [penitential] prayers a week before Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the new year.

Slichot are normally said at dawn, but the first Ashkenazi service is said at midnight after the Shabbat preceding, at least by several days, the new year holiday. Sephardi Jews have been saying slichot at dawn since the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul. 

The Western Wall Plaza, located adjacent to the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, is a central location for the reciting of Slichot. The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism .

As can be seen in the following video (courtesy of Kuvien images), the traditional Shofar blast was heard late last night at the Kotel (the Western Wall), along with Slichot in a variety of liturgical styles  and ethnic accents.

Not even standing room was available at the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, where renowned Cantor Chaim Adler and the synagogue's choir led by Eli Jaffe, involved the congregants in moving, traditional melodies, ending with Rabbi Chaim Banet's haunting tune for "Machnisei Rachamim" - a plea for "those who approach the Almighty to bring Him feelings of mercy, to bring Him our prayers, cries  and tears, for He listens to prayers and forgives those who weep; tell Him our good deeds so He will prevent the destruction of His flock."

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rav Shlomo Amar, prefaced the prayers at the Great Synagogue with a sermon in which he spoke seriously of the threats facing the Jewish people from anti-Semites and specifically, Iran. 

Another  unique Slichot service took place lin Jerusalem and Arutz Sheva was there to broadcast  the prayers which took place at the "Achdut Yisrael" [Unity of Israel] Synagogue) off Jaffa Road in the center of Jerusalem.  The place of worship, reached by climbing stairs from a narrow lane off the main street of the capital, is also known as the  Synagogue of the Resistance Fighters (Hamachtarot)  because members of the underground Etzel and Lehi founded it in the 1940's and prayed there. Their names can be seen on the wall plaques inside.

The Slichot service, led by singer and cantor Yitzchak Meir, was held in what is known as "Reb Shlomo Carlebach style", combining the legendary musician and educator's music, melodies and spirituality, accompanied by musical instruments as the service takes place after the Sabbath. The full service can be viewed in the following video.

The public is called to attend a special solemn Slichot service to be held at the Western Wall on Monday night at midnight, to pray for deliverance from those who have threatened to destroy the State of Israel and the "evildoer from Iran, who hates us as did the wicked Haman in the days of Mordecai and Esther".  The prayers will be led by rabbis and yeshiva heads from all over Israel, including Rabbi Chaim Druckman, Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El, Rabbi Yakov Shapira of Merkaz HaRav, Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba, Rav Shmuel Eliyahu of Tsfat, Rabbi Yoram Aberg'il of Netivot, Rabbi Chaim Cohen (haChalban) and others.