Tel Aviv Great Synagogue (archive)
Tel Aviv Great Synagogue (archive)Flash 90

The city of Tel Aviv-Yafo will allow synagogues across the city to expand into nearby public spaces during the High Holy Days, as part of a municipal effort to facilitate prayer services amid coronavirus-related restrictions on public gatherings.

The extension of prayer spaces will be coordinated together with the Religious Council of Tel Aviv-Yafo. In addition, the municipality will offer logistical assistance where necessary, including access to electricity, providing shade and distributing chairs for synagogue-goers.

Currently, there are approximately 450 synagogues across Tel Aviv-Yafo. In the coming days, the Religious Council will act to assess the needs of different Jewish communities citywide.

Due to the need to often divide prayer services into several minyans (prayer quorums), Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality and the Religious Council will provide free shofar-blowing courses in the coming weeks.

Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo: "The right to prayer and religious gatherings is fundamental, and everything will be done in order to permit tens of thousands of worshipers to carry out the holiday commandments – even under the health restrictions. From the very first days of the first Hebrew city, Jewish tradition has been of great importance in our daily life. As Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of the city, said: We are striving so that the spirit of Judaism will be in harmony with our enterprise and this city – so that the spirit of brotherhood, peace and love will prevail."

To enable outdoor prayers, Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality will issue a permit enabling synagogues to expand and hold their services in adjacent public spaces on the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur, Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah.

Eldad Mizrahi, Chairman of the Religious Council of Tel Aviv-Yafo: "I wish to thank the mayor for the special municipal assistance granted to synagogue communities across the city, enabling High Holy Day prayers to be held and expanded into public spaces, ensuring the special nature of the holidays, and permitting the participation of the public in these prayers."

Prayer services must still be held in accordance with all Health Ministry guidelines, including wearing masks, social distancing, and temperature checks.

The municipal initiative to facilitate synagogue prayers during the High Holy Days also follows a June 2020 decision by the Tel Aviv-Yafo City Council to invest NIS 1 million ($290,000) in improving accessibility to approximately 150 synagogues located in municipal buildings.