Just a day before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, there are still many Jews who have no plans to attend synagogue services.
Some of these Jews are not affiliated with a synagogue; others will be visiting their families and loved ones; and a sizable percentage simply don’t feel comfortable in a synagogue setting. Another alarming issue, particularly in light of the current economy, is that many cannot afford the cost of services, which can run $1000 or more for a family of five.
While perhaps many of these would-be worshippers may be feeling the sting of being left out of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar. Chabad Center for Jewish Life, the local Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh branch of the Jewish outreach organization to the world, offers a High Holiday services option, providing services at no charge for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 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 prayer books, enable those of all levels to become active participants in the services. Rabbi Shmuel Shneur will again offer commentaries on various selections of the prayers. Cantor Rabbi Itche Kievman will enhance the prayers with his heartwarming melodies.
“According to Jewish tradition, on the Jewish New Year, the doors of heaven are open. G-d accepts prayers from everyone,” said Chabad Rabbi Shimon Kramer, who is the rabbi at the Chabad of the Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh area. “The least we can do is open our doors as well, to the entire community. Whether someone can afford to pay or not, whether he/she is familiar with a synagogue or has never been to one, we will do our best to ensure that everyone is made to feel welcome.”
Chabad Rabbi Kramer continued, “The Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory, 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 September 24th and extends until nightfall on September 26th, followed by Shabbat. Yom Kippur begins this year after sundown on the eve of October 3rd and extends until nightfall on October 4. Chabad Center for Jewish Life will be holding Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services this year at the American Legion located at 160 Merrick Road in Merrick.
To reserve a space, register online at www.ChabadJewishLife.org/services or call Chabad Center for Jewish Life at 833-3057. There is no charge for services-all are welcome!
Schedule of Services:
Wednesday, September 24, 7:15 p.m. – Services to welcome the New Year
Thursday, September 25, 9:30 a.m. – Morning service for first day, followed by Kiddush Lunch and Tashlich
Friday, September 26, 9:30 a.m. – Morning service for second day, followed by Kiddush Lunch
Friday, October 3, 6:30 p.m. – Kol Nidrei Service
Saturday, October 4, 9:30 a.m. – Morning service; 11:30 a.m- Yizkor service; 5:45 p.m.- Neila closing service
There is no charge to attend these services, and all are welcome!
OTHER FREE SERVICES OFFERED TO THE COMMUNITY
TEMPLE BETH AM
2377 Merrick Avenue, Merrick
Thursday, September25: Family service at 2 p.m., pre-school age and up
Friday, September 26: Morning service at 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, October 4: Family service at 2 p.m. for pre-school age and up; Afternoon service, 4 p.m. ; Yizkor service, 6 p.m.; and Neilah service, 6:30 p.m.
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF SOUTH MERRICK
2655 Clubhouse Road, Merrick
Saturday, October 4: Yizkor (approx) 11:30 a.m.