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New Zealand Jews first to bless sun

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — New Zealand’s Jews will be the first in the world to recite the blessing of the sun during an event that only takes place once every 28 years.

Chabad of New Zealand’s Rabbi Mendel Goldstein, who runs the Chabad house in Canterbury on the South Island, told JTA that Chabad is coordinating several ceremonies across the island nation at 8 a.m. local time Wednesday.

“New Zealand Jewry feels very privileged to be the first in the world to celebrate this wonderful mitzvah,” he said. “Chabad of New Zealand has organized several simultaneous events across the country and people from all backgrounds and walks of life are expected to come together and unite for this historic occasion.”

In Australia, Chabad has also planned numerous ceremonies, including in Sydney’s world-famous Bondi Beach.

“More Jews in more places will participate in this rare opportunity than ever before,” said Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, chief rabbi of Chabad in New South Wales. “From Jerusalem to New York, San Francisco to Sydney, this unique ritual will connect people in always remembering the divine miracles of daily existence.”

The ceremony is performed once every 28 years on the day when it is calculated that the sun is in the exact position in the sky it occupied, and at the same time of the week, as it was at the time of the creation of the Earth, 5769 years ago.
 

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