Where to go in Jerusalem, Israel for Selihot, special prayers said late at night or early in morning before Yom Kippur, gets to be a bigger problem every year as the number of options goes up.
Tens of thousands as usual gathered at the Kotel, Western Wall. However, true numbers are impossible to calculate, as people were turned away, the area was so crowded.
Hundreds were at First Station for musical Selihot. Even the Israel Museum hosted a special late Thursday night event.
From small synagogues, to the huge stage in Kikar Safra, Government Square, the options for Selihot and holiday musical programs seemed endless, religious and secular.
In some locations, weary parents brought their children to school before 6:00 am for special Selihot.
For the fifth year, President Reuven Rivlin hosted an evening at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.
The synagogue is located in a corner of the back garden with 12 seats for women in the back of this men’s section.
Each year this evening has changed and grown, this year 500 soldiers and post-high school students were invited.
The service in the synagogue was recorded on video,
and projected onto a large screen outside for all to see.
Some of the guests could not resist using phones for their own videos.
The President and singers Moshe Louk and David D’Or came outside.
At least one young man could not resist taking a selfie with them.
Instead of more photos, I thought better to share short video clips,
of David D’Or
and Moshe Louk songs before Selihot,
and one part of Selihot with traditional reading.
I did not get to the Kotel for the huge Selihot, so sharing this photo taken fro a video tweeted by Ari Fuld z”l.
“The Nation has to bring itself to Israel. That takes moral codes, courage and strength… At the end of the day, success or failure is up to HaKadosh Baruch Hu alone.”
These are some of the last words Ari z”l posted on a Facebook video before Shabbat. On Sunday morning, on his way to the supermarket, Ari was stabbed in the back by a young Arab. Mortally wounded, he chased after, aimed and shot to neutralize the terrorist.
How can we understand a culture where a 16 or 17-year-old could intentionally murder a stranger, a husband, son, brother and father of four, by stabbing him in the back?
Avinu Malkeinu by David D’Or ended the evening at Beit Hanasi.
Even more meaningful after the devastating news of yesterday.
שנה טובה ומתוקה וגמר חתימה טובה
Shana tova ve’mutuka ve’gmar Hatima tova
Wishes for a good sweet year and to be sealed for good year.