Hundreds turn out to recite blessing on the sun
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Hundreds turn out to recite blessing on the sun

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More than 300 people attend a gathering at Teaneck’s Votee Park on April 8 to recite Birkhat HaChamah, the blessing of the sun. James Janoff

More than 300 people gathered at Teaneck’s Votee Park the morning of Wednesday, April 8, to read a blessing of the sun, an event that happens only once every 28 years.

The blessing, called Birkhat HaChamah, marks the time, according to calcuations by talmudic authorities, that the sun is in the exact place it was in when the world was created.

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Members of Cong. Shomrei Torah in Fair Lawn perform the blessing of the sun, led by Rabbi Howard Gershon, left, and Rabbi Benjamin Yudin, center. Abraham I. Fishweicher

The Rabbinical Council of Bergen County organized the ceremony. Rabbi Laurence Rothwachs of Teaneck’s Cong. Beth Aaron outlined the custom to the participants, while Rabbi Pinchas Weinberger, religious leader of Young Israel of Teaneck and president of the RCBC, led the blessing. In Fair Lawn, Rabbi Benjamin Yudin led participants from Cong. Shomrei Torah in the blessing.

Some in the crowd remembered the last time they read the prayer, while others were experiencing the moment for the first time. This year marked another rare occurrence: It was only the 12th time in history that the blessing of the sun and Passover have coincided.

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