Yom Kippur painting.
(photo credit: Maurycy Gottlieb)
More than 100,000 people are expected to participate Sunday in the seventh annual "Yom Kippur for Everyone" event, which brings an open and educational Yom Kippur service to community centers and schools throughout the country.
"After what Israeli society experienced this year, and in particular this past summer, the social discourse and soul-searching are more relevant than ever before," said MK Rabbi Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad).
According to organizers, the idea behind the gatherings is to provide a forum to discuss the meaning of Yom Kippur on both a personal and national level. Those who attend will find a Yom Kippur atmosphere in which the traditional prayers are used but the meaning of Yom Kippur is conveyed not only in its religious dimension, but also in a cultural context, organizers said.
This way, those who avoid synagogues will find a worthwhile venue for discussion of the holiday and its social significance, they said.
Special prayer books have been prepared that include explanations and instructions on the rituals and meaning surrounding the prayers.
According to Melchior, the services will allow "a profound and serious discussion among all parts of Israeli society about how to repair that which is broken." The prayer gatherings will take place at more than 200 locations.
The event is part of the broader "Judaism for Everyone" project, a joint collaboration of the Society and Diaspora Office in the Prime Minister's Office, the Education Ministry, Byachad, the Community Centers Corporation, Tzohar and Amiel. The "Judaism for Everyone" project was initiated in 1999 by Melchior, then the minister for diaspora affairs.
Participation in the gatherings is free to the public. Locations where immigrants are expected to attend will have Russian-speaking officiants.
Organizers emphasized that every effort had been made to conduct the services at handicapped-accessible locations. Specific locations can be found at www.byachad.org.il or by calling (03) 606-6440.
Kol Nidrei prayers will be held at 5:00 p.m. Sunday evening, morning prayers at most of the locations at 8:30 a.m. Monday, and the final Ne'ila prayer service at 5:00 p.m. Monday.