Tapping Into God’s Presence in the Biblical Heartland of Hebron

September 22, 2014

4 min read

The Jewish New Year is a time when Jews around the world connect to our roots and to God. According to tradition, Rosh Hashana (The New Year) is the day that God began creating the earth, and hence began implementing his plan for all mankind. Jews all over the world gather together to pray for forgiveness for the transgressions of the year gone by, in addition to requesting a new year of life, prosperity and peace.

There are few places in the world where these prayers become more poignant than in the Jewish community of Hebron. The embattled community is surrounded by aggressive neighbours who would like nothing more than to see the community cease to exist. There have been countless attempts to bully, terrorize, and coerce the Jews living in Hebron to leave one of the oldest and holiest sites in Israel, the city where David was coronated and Caleb battled for independence.

The tenacious Jewish community, numbering slightly less than 1,000 people, is the sole reason why people of all faiths can visit the Cave of the Patriarchs. If the city were under complete Muslim control, like many other holy sites around Israel, Jews and Christians would likely be forbidden to visit them.

Jews gather at the Cave of the Patriarchs for the Slichot prayers before Rosh Hashana. (Photo: Hebron Fund)
Jews gather at the Cave of the Patriarchs for the Slichot prayers before Rosh Hashana. (Photo: Hebron Fund)

The Jewish community in Hebron would like to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbors. However, for those who put their lives at risk to reclaim the biblical heartland, they continue to create programming and invite people from all over the world to celebrate the traditions and holiness of the city.

One of the major events that is being run by the Hebron Fund over the holidays is to increase awareness about the city’s importance in the hearts and minds of Israel. By creating a beautiful calendar drawn and developed by artists from the ancient city, the calendar endeavors to connect one with the biblical heartland as well as the community itself, complete with the spiritual and mystical overtones that the city generates.

The Hebron Fund is also providing numerous services for the city year round including; making sure clean, fresh water flows to the inhabitants; funding educational programming for schools and summer camps; funding and maintaining holy sites throughout the city, as well as parks and recreational areas; the creation of inspiring mega-events to bring tourism and awareness to the city; building the tourism industry and supporting the soldiers who serve in the city and outlying area.


The organization also provides soldiers stationed in Hebron who are tasked with protecting the Jews who live there and the tourists who visit each day with warm clothes, meals, Shabbat hospitality, as well as educational courses and seminars aimed at connecting the soldiers to their heritage and their roots.

Over the holidays, the Hebron Fund will be hosting a day of prayer in memory of the three slain teens who were murdered by terrorists in June. The families of each of the slain teens as well as both Chief Rabbis of Israel and other dignitaries will be visiting the Cave of the Patriarchs and hold a special prayer summit. The event, which is to be held between the high Holidays of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), is geared towards helping people reconnect to their roots during the holiday season.

The Hebron Fund hosts an appreciation BBQ for IDF soldiers stationed in Hebron tasked with protecting the Jewish community and holy sites. (Photo: Hebron Fund)
The Hebron Fund hosts an appreciation BBQ for IDF soldiers stationed in Hebron tasked with protecting the Jewish community and holy sites. (Photo: Hebron Fund)

Rabbi Dan Rosenstein, Executive Director of the Hebron Fund, explained to Breaking Israel News the auspicious timing of the memorial prayer summit: “The prayer meeting which will take place at the Cave of the Patriarchs is one of the most special programs we run. Tradition tells us that the cave is situated above the entrance to the Garden of Eden. At this time, when we approach the high holidays, God draws nearer to us, and to this site. We in turn have to make our effort as well. This special location is where the entrance to the Garden of Eden is, and those who contribute have a special privilege of bringing all of us that much closer to His Presence.”

“This is no trivial idea. It can be a lifesaving one. As we know from the high holidays liturgy, ‘repentance, prayer and charity save a person from a bad heavenly decree’, and that applies to everyone, no matter their nationality or religion.”

Rosenstein said that in order to help those who are unable to physically be at the location feel more a part of the event, the Hebron Fund will send a link to a live video feed of the event to all of their donors so that they can have a stronger sense of “being there”.

“Being there,” according to Rosenstein, is something that can be very spiritually moving. “The residents that are living in Hebron are by their very presence keeping the entire city accessible to Jews and people of all faiths. If one is not able to physically able to live there themselves then you can partner with them by becoming an honorary citizen. Your support will enable the community to provides for the needs of the community as well as accommodate the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city and allow them to connect to God in the second holiest site in Israel.”

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