Wednesday, November 04, 2009
2009 High Holidays
As every year, thousands of people filled up our congregations throughout Israel. Many of our congregations report increased numbers of participants in the services and study sessions – the result of the hard work on the part of the congregations throughout the year. Many of our congregations offered study sessions in addition to services, and these sessions were also attended by many.
Our additional new minyanim (prayer services), gathered especially for Yom Kippur, were widely successful, similarly to the services in the veteran congregations. Without exception, all the new minyanim were attended by large numbers of people – from a few dozens in some to up to 200 in others. New minyanim and study sessions for Yom Kippur were conducted in Gedera, Even Yehuda, Holon, Kibbutz Kfar Menachem, and Kibbutz Urim. In Tel Mond and Bet Lehem Haglilit, students of the Hebrew Union College led the services, aided by the IMPJ; an additional minyan for Rosh Hashanah took place in the Florentin neighborhood of Tel Aviv.
Several of our congregations opened a second (and sometimes a third) minyan: in Jerusalem, Congregation Kol Haneshama led a service in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood and in the Tali Bayit Vagan School. In Tel Aviv, congregation Beit Daniel conducted services in Jaffa and in North Tel Aviv. Congregation Natan-Ya maintained the tradition of a second minyan in the Poleg neighborhood, and Congregation Ma'alot Tivon also added a second minyan.
The High Holidays events have come to an end with a special encirclement event which took place in Kibbutz Beit Kama with hundreds of Israelis marking Simchat Torah.
Many of these new minyanim were possible thanks to a cadre of new local activists, whose commitment will most likely result in continued activity. This is the case in Gedera and Even Yehuda were in each a group of local leaders in cooperation with the IMPJ are in the process of establishing a new local Reform congregation. That and more, the second minyanim which took place in Kiryat Yovel and Jaffa will continue to gather for Shabbat and special days services during the year.
These New Year events echo across Israel as new groups of Israelis address us looking for a way to affiliate with the Reform community in Israel and be a part of it.
We hope that the High Holiday activity reported above will be a Simna Tava – a good sign for a new year of growth.
Livrachah velo liklalah
Lesova velo lerazon
Lechayim velo lemavet
"For blessing and not for curse
For fullness and not for hunger
For life and not for death"
(from Tfilat HaGeshem, the Prayer for Rain)