by Hillel Fendel
Many hundreds of thousands of Jews spent part or all of the day in synagogues today - and for many of them, the dramatic fast-ending shofar blast was the signal for the fulfillment of additional commandments: The evening Maariv prayer, the Sanctification of the Moon blessing, the Havdalah blessings marking the end of the Sabbath, and a start to building Sukkahs; the holiday of Sukkot begins four nights from now.
Some 180 Hesder yeshivot students spent Yom Kippur in army bases from Mt. Hermon to Eilat, leading the prayers for those soldiers designated to spend the holiday there. It will be recalled that 37 years ago, the Yom Kippur calm in IDF army bases and elsewhere was decimated when the Syrians and Egyptians surprise-attacked Israel in what became the Yom Kippur War.
Many secular-friendly Yom Kippur services were held around the country, courtesy of the Tzohar and Ayelet HaShachar organizations.
Religious Zionist yeshiva students, including a group from the, Merkaz Harav Kook Yeshiva in Jerusalem who went to Kibbutz Degania, and tens of religious Zionist families, left their own synagogues and went to non religious kibbutzim to lead Yom Kippur services. The last few years have seen synagogues being built on many secular kibbutzim, which gave rise to the request for groups who could conduct High Holiday services.
Baruch atem b'Shem, Yeshua