This year’s “open shul” mivtza in Israel was a great success. The organizers placed much emphasis on creating a positive and welcoming atmosphere to attract people who don’t normally go to shul during the year but want to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in a traditional way, even if they are not generally Torah observant.
Reports received over the past few days show that there was a huge increase in the number of visitors to the “open shuls” from the same time last year.
On Yom Kippur around 180,000 Jews visited 300 “open shuls”, set up in tents, public buildings, and Chabad Houses with the slogan, “we’ve reserved you a seat.”
“We have noticed this phenomenon of thousands of Jews who maybe don’t go to shul during the year but when they come to shul, they prefer Chabad’s “open shul,” which by the way is operating throughout the year with an accessible, inviting approach. We have also seen as evidence of this project’s success the number f people who come back every year. One Chabad House director in northern Israel reported that for one person, it’s his fifth year davening with him during the Yomim Noraim – from the first year that this project was launched,” said a Chabad spokesperson.
The internet site Kippur.org also led to greater exposure of this project. It scored tens of thousands of hits, providing information for where to find “open shuls” on Yom Kippur.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Ahronov, chairman of the Chabad Youth Organization and Agudas Chassidei Chabad in Israel, reported that, “In many places, the organizers didn’t expect such a huge turnout. For next year, we will have to prepare for much higher numbers.”
(SOURCE & PHOTO: COL.ORG.IL)