Yom Tovim in Melbourne

October 15, 2020 by Dina Kahn
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During the High Holyday period in Victoria, the Unite With Light initiative evolved, in which women of the community were inspired to light Shabbat and Yom Tov candles to bring additional light to these dark times.

The initiative was launched with a zoom candle lighting ceremony, which over 800 women attended.

Presenters included were Mayim Bialik, Hayley Southwick, Deborah Conway, Zahava Pinson and Amanda Walker.  This inspiring program was followed by over 100 ambassadors giving out over 1000 special Shabbat candle kits.

Hundreds of people have chalked the footpath with Shabbat candle lighting times and over 3000 women have registered their light on the website. The goal is to reach 5781 lights!

Register your light on phh.org.au/lights to enter into a raffle for $1800!  The raffle will be drawn this Sunday evening at 7:30pm!

Victoria was facing a worrying high holydays with no Shule services, family get-togethers or traditional moments.

To fill this need, Project High Holydays, a Rabbinical Council Of Victoria initiative, was launched.  The aim was to provide inspiration, services and support for the greater Victorian Jewry during this difficult period.  The PHH program and website helped facilitate specialised services for each of the High Holydays. The marketing campaign included signs around Melbourne, social media paged, an amazing website: phh.org.au website which contained important resources, a listing of the all events taking place during the High Holyday period, How-to Videos and contact information.

The project was launched with an inspiring pre-Rosh Hashana Selichos Program that visited many Shules around Melbourne and was filled with inspiration, beautiful messages and High Holyday tunes.  Leading up to Rosh Hashana, 5000 Care packages were distributed to many families in Melbourne and community members were invited to register for a private Shofar blowing to their home.  There was also a schedule set up with maps of Melbourne, pinpointing areas where 300 volunteers would be blowing Shofar at various times around Melbourne. This amazing service was so well received, with 1491 visit requests and 440 zones covered around Melbourne!

Not being able to attend Shule for a Yizkor service was a grave concern for many community members, so PHH kicked in and gave people the opportunity to visit the website and sign up the names of people who they would like Yizkor recited for, Over 1500 names were lodged for Yizkor on the website!

The hype continued through to Succot where community members signed up for a visit from Succa mobile.  One appreciative participant remarked,

” Thank you for sending Yossi to us.  He was a delight to have and Julian and I enjoyed davening lulav and esrog with him.”

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