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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Keeping the Flame Alive in Jericho's Synagogue

A group of Jews traveled to Yericho (Jericho) early Monday to conduct prayers for the new month (Rosh Chodesh) of Adar Bet in the ancient synagogue there. This was the largest group to participate in the monthly tradition in recent years.

The Torah scroll was brought from Mevo'ot Yericho. The activists feel they cannot be sure that local residents will not vandalize the synagogue and for this reason do not leave the scrolls behind.

Danny Dayan, Yesha Council Head, was also part of the group. He spoke of a feeling of "very great excitement along with great frustration."

"The great excitement is because we get closer to our origins here, we are connecting to the land, we are connecting to our heritage. On the other hand, the frustration is keen because we have to enter accompanied by the army, because there are police officers here and a flag which are not ours."

For the first time ever, the group was so big that it was decided to split the morning prayer into two minyans (prayer quorums) - one in the yeshiva and one in the synagogue. The crowd danced around the famous mosaic of the synagogue and continued the celebration outdoors.