Just one week before Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 4, the Jewish New Year and one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, there are still many Jews who have no plans yet to attend synagogue services.
Some of these Jews are not affiliated with a synagogue; others will be travelling on business; and a sizable percentage simply don't feel comfortable in a synagogue setting. Another alarming issue, particularly in light of today's flailing economy, is that many cannot afford the cost of services, which these days can run a whopping thousand dollars or more for a family of five.
Whatever the case is, many of these would-be worshippers are feeling the pangs associated with being left out of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar.
Chabad Jewish Center, has presented its own High Holiday services option, providing free Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in a warm and inclusive setting.
Chabad's services are "user-friendly," making it enjoyable and meaningful for both the beginner and the advanced. Song, commentary and the use of English-Hebrew prayerbooks, enable those of all levels to become active participants in the services.
"According to Jewish tradition, on the Jewish New Year, the doors of Heaven are open. G-d accepts prayers from everyone," said Chabad Rabbi Yossi Labkowski, who is hosting free services in Cape Coral. "The least we can do is open our doors as well, to the entire community."
Rabbi Labkowski continued, "The Lubavitcher Rebbe, insisted that Judaism is accessible to all Jews. During the Jewish High Holidays, accessibility can translate into different factors for different people, such as a non-judgmental atmosphere, affordability of the services, or the ability for a beginner to follow along. Our goal is to lower the barriers of entry, and encourage each and every Jew to actively participate in these most holy and introspective days."
Rosh Hashanah begins this year after sundown on Sept. 4 and extends until nightfall on Sept. 6. Yom Kippur begins this year after sundown on the eve of Sept. 13 and extends until nightfall on Sept. 14.
Chabad Jewish Center will be holding Rosh Hashanah services at 1716 Cape Coral Parkway, W. The Rosh Hashana services are Sept. 4 at 7:15 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, Sept. 5-6, morning services at 9:30 a.m. with shofar blowing at 11:30 a.m.,followed by kiddush luncheon.
Yom Kippur services are Friday, Sept. 13, Kol Nidrei, at 7:15p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 14, morning service at 9:30 a.m., Yizkor Service at 11:30 a.m.; Mincha/Neilah at 6p.m.; and shofar sounding at 8:06 p.m.; followed by refreshments
There is no cost to attend.
For more information about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, visit www.ChabadCape.com/newyear. To find High Holiday services in hundreds of cities throughout the world, visit www.ChabadCape.com/HighHolidayServices