Iron Dome
Iron DomeIsrael news photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office

Beginning this week, a new mobile synagogue  will allow IDF troops to pray more comfortably as they operate the Iron Dome anti-missile system in southern Israel. The synagogue was “launched” Wednesday, and includes prayer books and all the other ritual sacred items needed for daily services.

This first synagogue has been set up for use at an Iron Dome installation near the coastal city of Ashkelon. But mobile synagogues can move with the troops. According to the IDF, the army hopes to set up similar mobile synagogues at other Iron Dome installations across southern Israel.

The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system uses a sophisticated decision-making software to make a split second determination on whether or not to intercept an incoming rocket based on whether it will land in populated or built-up areas.

There are a number of such installations protecting other communities in the south, among them Ashdod, Be'er Sheva and Sderot. The system intercepts and neutralizes at least 85 percent of missiles that are fired by Gaza terrorists at civilians in southern Israel. However, the system is not fool-proof yet and occasionally a malfunction can have occur, sometimes with disastrous results.

A minyan (quorum of 10 men) is ritually necessary in Judaism in order to recite certain prayers, both during the week and on the Sabbath.  It is also necessary in order to be able to carry out the chanting of the weekly Torah portion from a Torah scroll and most significantly, to say Kaddish, a prayer required to be said by sons during morning, afternoon and evening services during the 11 months following the death of a parent.