life in Haifa Israel.
The sun began to set, and the Neilah or closing Yom Kippur service drew to a close. Rabbi Levi Tzeitlin's voice grew stronger and more eloquent with each sentence that he spoke. This was due in part to the inherent emotions inspired by our prayers during the Jewish Day of Atonement. There was also a palpable sense of excitement aroused by looking at the throng of more than forty congregants from several streams of Judaism and many personal backgrounds. We joined together to celebrate the most solemn religious event of the Jewish year. Yom Kippur is the last of the ten days of penitence that begin with Rosh HaShanna or The Jewish New Year.
We were holding our first annual "Open Shul," a makeshift, yet comfortable, Bet Knesset or Synagogue. The public was welcome to attend a free prayer service In the Dan Panorama Center. It is an upscale hotel and shopping mail located in the Mercaz or center neighborhood of Haifa. The services were appreciated by all those who attended. We had received permission to proceed just a week before Yom Kippur. Our Rabbi Levy, with the help of his valued assistant Zecharya Gonsher, scrambled around Haifa to secure an Aron Kodesh, Torah, prayer books, and everything else that we needed including refreshments to break the fast. Fasting is expected during this solemn holiday. We try to atone for the sins of the past year and commit to do better for the coming one.
I believe that due to the open atmosphere, and vibrant personalities of both staff members, that we received positive feedback and many thanks from those who attended. Chabad which is a large Hasidic movement is known for its hospitality, expertise, optimism and emphasis on Jewish spiritual growth.
In addition, Gonsher, who heads the "English Speakers of Chabad Panorama" branch, was able to give instructions and inspirational words to the number of Anglos or English speakers who attended. In an area lacking English language spiritual programs many of those attending expressed gratitude for this thoughtful act.
The successful program plans upcoming services which include a number of Shabbatot, upcoming holiday celebrations (including a Sukkot gathering), and other educational events throughout the year. The goal is to serve the vibrant and exciting English speaking population in The Carmel Center. I live in the community and enjoy the convenience of walking to activities. Many of my friends new and old share the same point of view.
"When the country shuts down and everyone goes to vacation on Chag Sukkot, an exhausted Rabbi Levi and I could easily convince ourselves to do the same...." says Gonsher, "However, after seeing the appreciation and satisfaction of our make-shift congregants, well, it gives us the inspiration and strength to push forward and have another event in the Sukkah. We look forward to expanding our services and programs exponentially, and hope you all can be in touch. Chag Sameach!"
For needs, assistance, and anything Jewish, please feel free to contact the Chabad Panorama, Panorama Center, Sderot HaNasi 109, Carmel Center, Haifa. Rabbi Levi Tzeitlin (firstname.lastname@example.org), 077-411-2770, and for English Speakers, Zecharya Gonsher (ChabadPanorama@gmail.com), 058-5454-770. On Facebook: English Speakers Chabad Panorama.