In preparation for the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, tens of thousands came to pray at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount last night. They are praying the special selichot prayers.  These are supplication prayers of repentance, in order to prepare for the Day of Atonement. Enjoy listening to the power of prayer. Powerful.

The Beauty of Israel

Israel is not just a beautiful country. The true beauty of Israel is our people, our unity and our faith. What makes Israel a special country is the fact that we are a Jewish country. All are welcome to live in peace with us and visit. However, the true power of Israel is our Jewish identity.

In these videos, tens of thousands of Jews come together in prayer at the holiest time of the Jewish calendar. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Orthodox, traditional and even secular Jews all pray together at the foot of the holiest place of the Jewish people.

Is Israel becoming more or less religious?

While some journalists, intellectuals and “thought leaders” write about how Israel is becoming more religious, they are totally off on their understanding of Israeli society. It is true that the majority of the Jews in Israeli society are NOT religious.  However, a majority of Jews in Israel fast on Yom Kippur.  In addition, many follow most of the commandments on the various holidays throughout the year. Israel is not “becoming more religious.”  The reality is that a majority of Jewish Israelis are proud of their Jewish identity and culture and uphold it.   This is the case even if many do not consider themselves “religious.”  That is the beauty and the strength of Israel. Our strength is in our identity with our Jewish past and culture.

A people who forget their past have no future. Those Jews or Israelis who complain about Israel becoming “religious” are disconnected from the reality of Israel.  They are also disconnected from the essence of their Jewish identity.

High Holy Days

Jewish people all over the world are in the middle of the holiest season of the Jewish calendar, the High Holy days. This ten-day period begins with the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashana.  It ends ten days later on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

Every day we recite special prayers and supplications as we each individually, and as a community, go through a repentance process.  On the Day of Atonement, Jewish tradition is that God judges, writes and seals us in the “Book of Life.”

Part of a Whole

A key aspect of Jewish practice is that when we pray for forgiveness, we do not merely do so just for our individual selves.  We also pray for the whole Jewish community. We are both responsible for our own actions and for the entire Jewish people.

This is the power of the prayers we witness in these videos at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount.

May all of humanity be inscribed in the Book of Life on this Yom Kippur. Gmar Chatima Tova!

Understand what this communal prayer at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount is all about in this video: