JERUSALEM (JTA) — An annual initiative will provide more than 50,000 secular Israelis with free Yom Kippur prayer services.
The Tzohar rabbinic organization’s Praying Together on Yom Kippur initiative organizes more than 200 explanatory Yom Kippur services in cultural centers in communities across Israel.
In its 11th year, the Praying Together program has expanded annually. Participants are provided with a special Yom Kippur prayer book and detailed handout explaining the rituals and the meaning of the prayers that take place on the Day of Atonement.
Studies have shown that while two-thirds of Israelis observe Yom Kippur, many secular Israelis choose to stay home.
“Our goal is to help secular Israelis feel less alienated when it comes to religious practice and show them that there are many ways to embrace religion and become spiritually involved with one’s Judaism,” said Rabbi David Stav, chairman of Tzohar. “We know that despite being classified as secular, this segment of Israeli society often has a burning desire to demonstrate their love for Jewish tradition, and we strongly believe that this effort will help them feel closer to their identity as proud Jews.”