Israeli  President hosted Selihot in the synagogue of the President's House

When he became President Reuven Rivlin started opening up the Synagogue on the grounds of Beit Hanasi for Selihot erev Yom Kippur. 

Each year he hosted a famous Israeli singer lead in the late-night musical prayer event. 

Seven years ago, Yitzchak Meir was one of the first to be honored to lead the service inside the President's synagogue.

Current President Isaac Herzog has continued the annual, but changing each year event, by hosting a musical Selihot evening, on Tuesday, the fourth of Tishri, September 19, in the synagogue of Beit Hanasi in collaboration with Project 929, led by Rabbi Benny Lau. 

The event has grown over the years and has moved outside the synagogue and is attended by members of the security forces, students, and education and teaching staff. Honored guests this year included former Supreme Court Judge Elyakim Rubinstein and Miriam Rubinstein, and Shaare Zedek Hospital President Jonathan Halevy. 

Guests had the opportunity to daven maariv with the members of the daily morning Beit Hanasi minyan who attended including Larry Wachsman.

The Yagel Haroush Ensemble returned this year with inspirational songs before and after a musical Selihot, alternating Ashkenasi and Sefardi melodies. The audience seated outside in the back garden enjoyed the music and joined in the singing of many traditional tunes.   

In his welcome remarks, the President referred to the challenges of the hour and said: "We are in a period of crisis in Israeli society. A period in which our ability to live together here is being tested, a period in which voices are often heard saying: "Either us or them." Or, to paraphrase Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: "Only at their expense, not at our expense." This is the complete opposite of everything that "forgiveness" is supposed to express.

The period of forgiveness has always been a unifying period. During this period - for generations upon generations, it was customary for women and men of all denominations and all traditions to do a personal soul-searching, and gather - in the synagogues, in the community spaces - every community and place, every distribution and space - to also do a general, community and national soul-searching.

These days oblige us to take stock. The terrible days, the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, and the events of the hour - cry out for us to pay attention to the crisis and its consequences - economic, social, and especially security, and understand that we are all here to be tested. All of us - all citizens and citizens of Israel, certainly everyone who has influence in the public sphere, and first and foremost our elected officials. The State of Israel is in one of the most difficult situations in its history as far as Israeli cohesion is concerned, and the time has come for us to act in the spirit of the days of mercy and forgiveness, abandon the discourse of polarization and isolation, and do everything to get out of the crisis together."

In conclusion, the President greeted those present with a closing bracha: "I wish for all of us to always remember, and especially this year, that the Days of Forgiveness call us to return to our origins, to look out of the window of our home and ask for the reunion. Get out of the private homes, walk around the streets of the State of Israel, meet our brothers and sisters, and start praying and working together for a better year, for a better reality and society. As it is written at the end of the forgiveness: "And he will remove from you jealousy and hatred and competition... and God will write you in the book of a good life. And so be it willed and it will be said, Amen." May you be signed and sealed in the Book of Life."

The program was broadcast live by the Government Press Office on social channels such as Facebook.