Los Angeles, CA, September 29, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- The Jewish High Holiday season is in full swing, with the culmination coming this Saturday on Yom Kippur. While, it will be hard to classify the Jewish people as a superstitious nation, they certainly do vie for certain honors when the High Holiday season comes around.
These honors are honors such as being called to the Torah, also known as an Aliya, or the opening of the Ark or the honor of holding the holy Torah scroll for the poignant Kol Nidre prayer on Yom Kippur Eve. Yet there is one honor that is the most sought after out of all High Holiday honors and this is the honor to be called up to read the story of the Prophet Jonah.
Rabbi Mendel Duchman of Los Angeles explains that the honor of being called up to read the story of Jonah is more than just superstition; it is an age old tradition that comes with many great blessings, blessings of health, wealth and prosperity. Last year alone, the main synagogue in Moscow was said to have sold the honor for $660,000, the equivalent of 20 million rubles. While in Israel, a New York man was said to have forked out $28,000 for the honor.
The story of the Prophet Jonah is one of hope and forgiveness and it is something that is at the epicenter of the entire Yom Kippur day. The people of Ninveh are forgiven for their sins. This year may even be more poignant as it was long believed that the Iraqi city of Mosul was the ancient city of Ninveh. It was also believed that this is where the Prophet Jonah was buried, the site believed as his burial spot was destroyed by ISIL as they marauded to conquer Mosul.
Like many others, Duchman is a firm believer that the merits and blessings that come with the honor of reading the story of the Prophet Jonah are evident for those that purchase the honor. Yet, Duchman is no ordinary Rabbi and nor is the way he sells the distinct honor of reading the Maftir Yonah, as it is known. Duchman runs a real synagogue for children. The children hold the official positions, from president of the synagogue to chairman of the synagogue; these positions are all held by children who bid for the positions in hotly contested elections.
Raising money in a synagogue run and managed by kids can be tricky, so Duchman came up with the reading of the story of Jonah co-op. While one child will read the story, people from all around the globe can chip in to the efforts and indeed reap the benefits and blessings of this unique Maftir Yonah.
It is something that he has been doing for close to 13 years now and it is something that has dual benefit. The synagogue for the kids receives the impetus of much needed funds and many people who would not have afforded the merits of purchasing the honor of reading the story of Jonah, receive all the merits and blessings that come along with it.
To be a part of this unique initiative, log on to http://www.kolyakovyehuda.com/#!maftir-yona/c1fhd