On Saturday, September 28, 2013, more than 160 members of the different kehillot gathered at Saint Peter’s Church in Jaffa for a joint celebration.

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It has become a tradition for the members of the kehillot to gather during the Feast of Tabernacles. This year, the traditional celebration took place a day after the end of the feast but still focused on the feast as well as on the end of the Year of Faith. Members of the kehillot, young and old, gathered for the joyful celebration in the Church of Saint Peter in the Old City of Jaffa. The church and monastery were closed by the Franciscan Fathers in order to welcome the kehillot.

As people arrived from the different kehillot, from Haifa, Beer Sheba, Jerusalem, Tiberias, Nazareth and Latroun, joining the local community from Jaffa, there were many happy reunions of children, youth, families and older members. At 11.00, everyone gathered in the church, filled to capacity, for mass celebrated by Father David, responsible for the kehillot, and concelebrated by fourteen other priests. As always, the kehillot musicians from Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa and Tiberias accompanied the mass with music and song, making worship beautiful for the Lord.

At the beginning of mass, Father David pointed out that as we bring the final harvest to the altar of the Lord, we want to also mention the many gifts of the preceding year. He made special mention of a new deacon serving at mass, Brother Giacomo from Tiberias, a new priest, Father Sergey for the Russian speakers, and new born babies who were present for the first time at a kehillot day: Daniel and Sebastian.

The mass also focused on the renewal of faith and the confession and creed were recited as is the custom at Easter. The faithful were sprinkled with water and received lit candles at the moment of reciting the creed. During the mass, together with the gifts brought to the altar, there was also a basket of fruit to represent the final harvest.

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In his homily, Father David focused on the act of giving thanks for the gifts received over the past year. He reminded the faithful of the variety of gifts that God had showered on the kehillot: the activities with the children, the youth group, the families, the priests, the ongoing witness of the pioneers of the kehillot… He underlined the commandment to be joyful at this time. Finally he focused on the mission of the community: to become sources of living water in a society thirsty for justice, peace and love.

After mass, the faithful broke out their picnics and after a toast on the new year, shared the food they had brought. In the variety of dishes, the great diversity of the backgrounds of the faithful is evident and another source of thanksgiving.

After lunch, everyone gathered in the church to view a 12 minute film of the performance the children had prepared and participated in during the summer camp, scenes from the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus and the Church. After that, the children and young people set off for a walk around Jaffa, whereas the adults divided into ten groups to discuss three questions together:

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- Where did I get my faith from?

- How do I live my faith?

- How do I transmit my faith to others?

After a rich time of sharing, the faithful gathered again the church to pray a prayer of thanksgiving. Father Roman, who animated the prayer, seated the faithful according to age, the youngest at the back. The oldest had indeed transmitted the faith in the kehillot to the youngest. At the end of the prayer, the youngest proceeded in a candle light procession to the front and there sang the anthem of the Easter children’s camp, “I believe”.

Once again, the day ended in joy. Father David invited all to depart, taking with them the light of the day to every part of daily life.