*Sivan Rahav-Meir / The Daily Portion / Selichot youth*

*Sivan Rahav-Meir / The Daily Portion / Selichot youth*

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin http://(http://inthelandoftheJews.blogspot.com)

I looked at pictures of the Kotel taken on the first night of Selichot. Most of those present were very young. Teenagers, in fact. It looked like many of them only wear a kippa occasionally. Their prayers, sung loudly and passionately, surely reached the uppermost heavens. *Rabbi Avinadav Avocart*, from Givat Shmuel, wrote about this phenomenon that is witnessed in numerous locales each year:

“My WhatsApp groups with fellow rabbis are filled with testimonies of Selichot taking place both night and day.

Small, intimate minyans, gigantic minyans, tea drunk from disposable cups, plates of dates next to Selichot handbooks trimmed in gold, and lots of shofars and lots of shouts of “Shema Yisrael,” and lots of teenagers. A multitude of young people in T-shirts with cell phones in their jeans pockets fill our synagogues at night to say Selichot.

We gain so much strength from this, so much hope and vitality. I gaze at these pictures exuberantly, scrutinize them like a proud parent or a contented aunt. And we rabbis compliment each other, expressing wonder and admiration as our hearts are stirred together.

And whenever, during the year, difficulties arise, when a flood of educational challenges concerning these kids fill the rabbis’ discussions, I recall these Selichot memories. I look at a video clip on my cell phone, even in the middle of the month of Tevet, and know that everything is going to be fine, that our final redemption is on the way. I become filled with confidence that all of Israel will soon do teshuvah. As the prophet Hosea said: ‘For when Israel was young, I loved him.’

Shana tova, Selichot youth.”

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