‘Listening Together’ shofar program to host secular Jews in Israel

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Tzohar Rabbinical organization will host more than 55,000 people in 295 different locations throughout Israel for Rosh Hashanah services.

The group will for the first time host the “Listening Together” Shofar program for the holiday in community centers and schools.

Participants will be provided with a prayer book to make it easier to follow along, as well as with an explanatory pamphlet written by Tzohar about the customs, prayers and meaning of the High Holidays to help guide the participant throughout the services.

“Going to a religious synagogue can be an intimidating and sometimes off-putting experience for someone who doesn’t regularly attend or associate with that particular community,” said Rabbi David Stav, co-founder of Tzohar. “We have seen such an outpouring of desire for Jewish connection by the secular community, especially relating the High Holidays, that we knew something had to be done to accommodate them. By moving these important Jewish lifecycle events to neutral locations – such as community centers or event halls – it becomes more much inviting and accessible for anyone interested in connecting with their Jewish tradition.”

The program is being initiated 16 years after the organization of religious Zionist rabbis started the Yom Kippur “Praying Together” program, which organizes more than 200 explanatory Yom Kippur services in cultural centers in communities across the country.

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