Daily Israel Report

40,000 Expected by Tzohar for Yom Kippur

the Tzohar organization will be organizing prayers at 250 locations around Israel for Yom Kippur, with 40,000 people expected
By David Lev
First Publish: 9/8/2013, 8:19 PM

Synagogue in southern Tel Aviv (illustrative)
Synagogue in southern Tel Aviv (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

As part of its annual effort, the Tzohar organization will be organizing prayers at 250 locations around Israel for Yom Kippur, aimed specifically at secular Israelis who would most likely not attend services otherwise. Some 40,000 people are expected to participate altogether.

Tzohar is organizing services in a wide variety of locations, including in cities like Tel Aviv, Modi'in Eilat, a large number of kibbutz communities, and towns in Judea and Samaria and northern and southern Israel.

Two new groups that will be joining the Tzohar family this year will be an Ethiopian congregation in Gedera in southern Israel, and a group at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. Organization volunteers will be present to help run services, and volunteers will also travel to kibbutz communities for residents there, in some cases for the first time.

Dozens of residents of the Gush Etzion town of Elazar will spend Yom Kippur at Kibbutz Ga'ash in central Israel. The Tzohar organization is organizing the prayers, and visitors from Elazar will also conduct a special lecture on music in Judaism. After the fast, residents and visitors will participate in a special musical event at the kibbutz.

Over 700 volunteers will be working with Tzohar, helping to organize and run services. The Tzohar services follow a special prayerbook published by the organization that combines traditional prayers and liturgy from a wide variety of traditions, both Sephardic and Ashkenazic, to ensure that everyone who participates feels comfortable. Along with prayerbooks, Tzohar volunteers will be equipped with other religious items, including kippot (skullcaps), tallitot (prayer shawls), and explanatory sheets for the prayers.

Rabbi David Stav, chairman of Tzohar and Chief Rabbi of the city of Shoham, said that “now more than ever we are seeing that Israeli society wishes to deepen its connection to Jewish identity, in a pleasant and non-coercive manner.”