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Thousands expected in Hebron for Shabbat Chayei Sarah 2022

One of the world’s largest Shabbat dinners is being planned for the special occasion.

30.10.22, 16:03
Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit Hebron this Shabbat November 18-19, 2022 for Parshat Chayei Sarah. The weekly Torah portion describing Abraham’s purchase of the Cave of Machpela is to be read at the actual location where it took place. Giant tents are being set up for group meals, as the community prepares for the festival atmosphere. Visitors camp out, picnic and pray together in the historic city.

The Jewish community of Hebron, the Hebron Fund, Chabad of Hebron and other organizations are preparing food and accommodations for the guests from Israel and around the world.

Public figures, Members of the Knesset and well-known rabbis will be in attendance, and many will speak to the Hebron Fund as part of their special program for English speakers.

Rabbi Dan Rosenstein, executive director of the Hebron Fund, said the group is planning a mezuzah dedication ceremony on the newly renovated Avraham Avinu Guest House. The group is offering an opportunity to dedicate plaques for the new building.

Yishai Fleisher the international spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hebron called it “Woodstock meets the Bible,” referring to the famous musical festival from the 1960s. “ The Tombs of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs -- the mamas and the papas are the real stars of the show,” he said.
 

The towering Herodian-era structure houses the underground burial chambers for the Biblical founding fathers and mothers of the Jewish people. The site is usually divided between Jewish and Muslim sections, but is reserved ten days a year for each respective religion’s holiday. Parshat Chayei Sarah is one of those days in which the site is reserved for Jewish worship. The Hall of Isaac and Rebecca, usually designated for Muslim prayer, will be open. This includes the memorial markers for Isaac and Rebecca as well as the opening into the actual cave, called the Entrance to the Garden of Eden. Visitors can feel the backdraft from the underground caverns by placing their hand or face over the opening.
“The Torah portion describes the purchase of this parcel of land 3,800 years ago by Abraham to be a burial place for his beloved wife Sarah,” Fleisher explained. “This started in the 1990s as a demonstration of support for the residents of Judea and Samaria. Today is it has grown into a national celebration." People from a variety of Jewish denominations arrive to Hebron in what has morphed into mainstream, family-friendly event.

The Hebron Fund regrets that Ofer Ohana, who catered a large kiddush every year for the Hebron Fund will be unable to do so this year as he is still recovering from injuries from a terrorist attack several weeks ago. Ohana, who works as an emergency medic, rushed to a grocery store where a terrorist had opened fire on pedestrians. One person, 50-year-old Ronen Hanania, was killed and several injured.

Throughout Shabbat, there will be classes, food, and tours of the many historic Jewish sites in the city, including the Tomb of Otniel Ben Knaz, which is located in the PA side of the city.

Elimelech Karzen, a representative of the Jewish community of Hebron announced  that due to the popularity of Shabbat Chayei Sarah, an additional Shabbat dinner and lunch is being organized at the sports hall in neighboring Kiryat Arba.
Chabad of Hebron, which hosts the large tent for every year is once again planning one of the largest the largest Shabbat meals in the world.

The Jewish community is proud of the city’s growth over the past year. The handicapped access project is well underway. Part of the grassy area in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs is being prepared for a wheelchair ramp which will connect to the new elevator that will bypass the many steps to the ancient holy site.

There is also the ongoing construction of the Hezekiah neighborhood, named after Rabbi Haim Hezekiah Medini, the famed author of the Sde Hemed who lived in Hebron. The residential complex will be the first new building project in the Israeli side of Hebron in approximately 20 years and help alleviate the every growing housing shortage.

Eyal Gelman, the recently elected mayor of Israeli Hebron stated, "since the beginning of the reading the Book of Genesis we have been excited… here is the place where it all really began… this is where everything started and from where we draw the strength to continue building the country everywhere."

He told Israel National News, “it will be crowded but with a lot of joy. Many people from all over the world come, not only from Israel… such a Shabbat leaves one with great elation.”

"In the face of the wave of terrorism, we continue to deepen our roots in the city of the ancestors. Terrorism will not stop us," he added.
 
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Traffic, parking and other details

 
A. Travel by private vehicles from Kiryat Arba to Hebron will be allowed up until Thursday at 10:00 am only. After that, only authorized vehicles will be allowed to enter.

B. For guests of families in Hebron, vehicles approved in advance by the hosts will be allowed to enter based on available space only.

For guests in Hebron, the parking of private vehicles that are not included in the pre-approved list can park in designated parking lots in Kiryat Arba as directed by police and staff.

Free shuttle buses will operate from the parking lots in Kiryat Arba to Gross Square in Hebron on Friday between 9:00am and 3:00pm.

For the benefit of those staying in the neighborhoods of Beit Hadassah and Admot Yishai, there will be minibus shuttles from Gross Square.

On Saturday evening, shuttle service will operate starting one hour after Shabbat ends.
 
C. For guests of families and institutions in Kiryat Arba, parking near the accommodation area is based on available space or in the parking lots at the entrance to Kiryat Arba as directed by the police. Please make sure to park in the arranged parking lots only and not to block traffic lanes.
 
D. Large RV vehicles (caravans) can be parked in the municipal parking lot and the Giburim parking lot. The Giburim parking lot is open from Wednesday. The municipality parking lot is open from Thursday. The parking lots are secure. There are no electricity, water or sewer infrastructure connections. Parking is free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Caravans will be allowed to enter until Friday at 6:00 am only and based on availability. Arrive early. Caravans that arrive later will be directed to the industrial area in Kiryat Arba.

Please note: the departure of caravans on Saturday night will only be possible after a significant dispersion of the load of visitors and vehicles, according to the police's assessment of the situation (possibly only after a number of hours). Please evaluate accordingly.

E. Public transportation

Line 380 from the Electra Afikim bus company from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station to Kiryat Arba will operate in an enhanced format on Friday between 8:30am and 1:30pm only.

On Saturday night, the service will operate from the Council Plaza in Kiryat Arba to Jerusalem starting at 6:30 pm.
Please note that buses may be crowded. It is recommended to use other means of transportation. Electra Afikim is the sole responsible party for the availability of seats and buses.
 
F. Chabad of Hebron is organizing pre-ordered Shabbat meals in the dining tent. Collection of entrance tickets to the tents will take place on Friday at the council square in Kiryat Arba from 9:00am - 2:00pm and at the information center outside the Cave of the Patriarchs from 9:00am - 2:00pm. Please note - entry to the dining areas requires the presentation of a physical card. A digital card is not valid on Shabbat.

G. Cave of the Patriarchs

On Shabbat, the Cave of the Patriarchs will be reserved for Jewish prayer services including the Hall of Isaac & Rebecca.
Throughout Shabbat, men may enter through the eastern entrance (above the seventh step), and women may enter through the Brit Milah (the normal entrance).

Details of prayer times for Shabbat will be posted in the Machpela complex. Impromptu minyans will take place outside and throughotu the city. 

The Cave of the Patriarchs will close on Friday night at 11:45 pm and on Saturday night at 8:45 pm.

Please note: We recommend arriving to Hebron on Thursday or early Friday morning. Rush hour is expected to be congested.

The hospitality hotline is at your service at 02-996-5333 extension 0.

For further inquiries, you can send a WhatsApp message (only) to 050-846-2448.

Come with joy! Shabbat shalom!
 
NOTES:
The Hidden Holiday of Biblical Love - Yishai Fleisher Show
 
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