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Day to Praise

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Day to Praise
יום הלל
Logo of the Day to Praise Global initiative
Jewish and Christian women dancing in a circle
Dancing at the central Day to Praise event, 12 May 2016
GenreReligious worship
FrequencyAnnually on 5 Iyar
Location(s)Israel and international satellite locations
Inaugurated23 April 2015 (2015-04-23)
FoundersRabbi Shlomo Riskin, David Nekrutman
Most recent14 May 2024
Previous event26 April 2023
Next event1 May 2025
ActivityReciting of Hallel (Psalms 113–118) in synagogues, church groups or by individuals to celebrate the State of Israel on Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel's Independence Day)

Day to Praise (Hebrew: יום הלל, romanizedyom hallel) is a global interfaith praise initiative set forth by CJCUC Chancellor & Founder, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and CJCUC Executive Director, David Nekrutman.[1] The initiative takes to form in an annual event on Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel's Independence Day) in which Christians worldwide are called on and invited[2] by Rabbi Riskin to recite Hallel (Psalms 113–118) with the Jewish People in a celebration to praise God for the State of Israel.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]


Hallel consists of six Psalms (113–118), which are recited as a unit, on joyous occasions.[15] These occasions include the following: The three pilgrim festivals Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot (the "bigger" Jewish holy days, mentioned in the Torah) and Hanukkah and Rosh Chodesh (beginnings of the new month). Two years after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Chief Rabbinate in Israel decided that Yom Ha'atzmaut should be given the status of a minor Jewish holiday on which Hallel (Psalms 113–118) be recited. The recitation of the blessing over Hallel was introduced in 1973 by Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren.



In October 2014, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the Chancellor & Founder of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC), became the first Orthodox rabbi to invite Christian visitors to Israel to participate in a "praise rally" with Jewish interfaith leaders at the center's headquarters during the holiday of Sukkot during which Hallel was recited.[16][17] This celebratory event would serve as the basis for the eventual conception of the global Day to Praise initiative.

In 2015[edit]

The central Day to Praise event at HaZvi Israel Synagogue in Jerusalem, 23 April 2015

The Day to Praise Global initiative was launched in March 2015. In an email sent out to Israel supporters worldwide Rabbi Riskin wrote:[18]

Given the honorary title of Ambassador for Jewish-Christian Relations from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, God has recently put on my heart to fulfill the mandate of Psalm 117: "Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever." I see the fulfillment of this calling through the nations around the world, who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to recite Psalms 113–118 on Israel's Independence Day with the Jewish community. Therefore, I've recently launched the Day to Praise initiative inviting the Christian world to recite Psalms 113–118 with us.

— Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, in an email sent out to Israel supporters world-wide, 11 March 2015[18]

As part of the praise worship celebrations, Day to Praise produced songs, inspired by the Hallel Psalms. A portion of the proceeds from these songs go to supporting Heart to Heart, a virtual blood donation program in Israel.[19]

The initiative caused an uproar within the Haredi Jewish circles. In a statement, the once chief Sephardi Rabbi of Israel, and the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Shlomo Amar, expressed his "stomach churning" in light of the joint Hallel prayer of Jews and Christians in a synagogue in Jerusalem being led by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.[20] In a rebuttal, Rabbi Riskin defended his actions stating, "We are talking about a thanksgiving prayer to G-d that would include Christians who worship His actions towards the Jewish people and the Land of Israel ... What could possibly be more appropriate?".[21] Later that year, in September, on the eve of Rosh HaShana (the beginning of the Jewish New Year), Riskin's claim was given further backing by Rabbi Pesach Wolicki. In an article written for The Times of Israel, Wolicki wrote, "While discomfort is understandable, we dare not assume that what is uncomfortable and new is therefore forbidden."[22]

The first annual Day to Praise took place on 23 April 2015 with the central event taking place at HaZvi Israel Synagogue in Jerusalem. The central Day to Praise event was reportedly joined by tens of thousands of worshipers throughout the world, in their own respective groups.[23][24][25][26]

Later that year, in 2015, during the festival of Sukkot, CJCUC, together with its founder, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the chief rabbi of Efrat, hosted an interfaith event in Efrat in which 200 Christians and Jews came together to sing the praises of God in unity. Riskin said that the event would help usher in the Messianic Age.[27]

In 2016[edit]

The second annual Day to Praise took place on 12 May 2016 and the central event was held in Gush Etzion, the scene of many past terror attacks. The event consisted of 120 representatives of the Jewish and Christian faiths. The representatives were groups from Israel, The United States, Germany and Brazil and international interfaith organizations such as "Bridges for Peace" and "Christian Friends of Israel".[28]

During the event, each of the participants read Psalm 117 in their native language, and then read it together in Hebrew. According to co-founder David Nekrutman, this in-gathering was the fulfilment of the biblical prophecy of Zephaniah: "For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language that they may all call upon the name of the LORD to serve Him with one consent." (Zephaniah 3:9)[28][29][30]

In 2017[edit]

The third annual Day to Praise took place on 2 May 2017 and the central event was held in Jerusalem.[31] As per tradition, the Jewish and Christian attendees celebrated by reciting the Psalms 113–118 reportedly joined by hundreds more from around the world. Event co-founder, David Nekrutman, stated that one of the main themes at this year's event was seeing "the importance of looking at one another and walking together" within the Psalms themselves. This year's event also marked the golden jubilee of the reunification of Jerusalem.[31] A week before celebrations began, a Day to Praise Hallel service was held in Germany by a group of 125 Christians. It was also reported that a few days later, the synagogue in Youngstown, Ohio invited Christians to join them for a Hallel service.[31]

In 2018[edit]

Attendees at the 4th annual Day to Praise Israel Independence Day event, 18 April 2018

The fourth annual Day to Praise took place on 19 April 2018. The central event was held on the eve of 18 April and began with a Memorial Day ceremony for Israel's fallen soldiers. Jews and Christians joined together in an event which "took them from the depths of sadness over Israel’s losses in wars for survival, to the heights of joy on Israel’s 70th anniversary".[32] This year's central event was held at the John Hagee Center for Jewish Heritage at the Netanya Academic College where reportedly around 350 Jews and Christians were in attendance. As with every Day to Praise event, attendees recited the Psalms of Praise. Associate director of CJCUC, Rabbi Pesach Wolicki, stated that Christians praising God and praying for Israel is "an essential piece of the prophetic puzzle" and that without them the prophecies about Israel's future geula (redemption) would not be complete.[32]


  1. ^ "Rabbi Riskin Launches 'Day to Praise' Initiative" (Press release). Christian Newswire. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  2. ^ Poch, Raphael (23 March 2015). ""Day to Praise" Calls on Christians, Jews Worldwide to Unite in Prayer". Breaking Israel News. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Calling on Christians and Jews to Recite 'Hallel' on Israeli Independence Day". Breaking Israel News. 22 March 2015. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  4. ^ Nekrutman, David (23 March 2015). "A Day to Praise: Join Israel in Thanking God For His Continuous Protection". Charisma Magazine. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  5. ^ Mitchell, Chris (23 March 2015). "Day to Praise Initiative". CBN News. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  6. ^ Posselt, Ilse (24 March 2015). "Initiative Unites Christians and Jews to Praise God for the Miracle of Israel". Bridges for Peace. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  7. ^ Darg, Christine (29 March 2015). "THIS IS HISTORIC! "Day to Praise" Calls on Christians & Jews Worldwide to Unite in Prayer". Jerusalem Channel. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  8. ^ "The Difference between Prayer and Praise". Voice of Israel. 24 March 2015. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  9. ^ "以色列獨立日 全球猶基要齊讚美神". Kingdom Revival Times (in Chinese). 25 March 2015. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  10. ^ Poch, Raphael (8 April 2015). "INSPIRED BY PSALM 117: "DAY TO PRAISE" CALLS ON CHRISTIANS AND JEWS TO THANK GOD FOR ISRAEL'S PROTECTION". Breaking Christian News. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Inspired by Psalm 117: "Day to Praise" Calls on Christians and Jews to Thank God for Israel's Protection". The Christian Observer. 9 April 2015. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  12. ^ "以色列獨立日 全球猶太人基督徒要齊聲讚美神" (in Chinese). TaiwanBible.com. 5 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  13. ^ Wolicki, Rabbi Pesach (19 April 2015). "Praise Hashem All Nations". Breaking Israel News. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  14. ^ Weisz, Tuly (20 April 2015). "Realization of Biblical Prophecy, God's Promise Coming to Life in Israel". Breaking Israel News. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  15. ^ Hallel – "Praise of G-d" – OU.ORG
  16. ^ "Hundreds of Christians Joined Rabbi Riskin to Celebrate Sukkot". Christian Newswire. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Jews and Christians Celebrate Sukkot". Breaking Israel News. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  18. ^ a b "A personal invite from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin". Mailchimp. 11 March 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  19. ^ Feldstein, Jonathan (15 April 2015). "Not All Days to Praise God are Created Equal". Breaking Israel News. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  20. ^ Cohen, Ishay (22 April 2015). "זעזוע בירושלים: "תפילה" משותפת ליהודים ונוצרים". Kikar HaShabbat. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  21. ^ Wanderman, Matt (22 April 2015). "Rabbi Riskin Defends Jewish-Christian Independence Day Prayer". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  22. ^ Wolicki, Pesach (13 September 2015). "When Interfaith Prayer Is NOT a "Foreign Fire"". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  23. ^ "DAY OF PRAISE". Marietta Church of God (Georgia). 17 April 2015. Archived from the original on 24 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  24. ^ "Day to Praise". Liberty University (Virginia). Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  25. ^ "Day to Praise". El Shaddai Ministries (Washington State). 23 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  26. ^ Darg, Christine (24 April 2015). "Historic 'Day to Praise' Includes Christians on Israeli Independence Day". Jerusalem Channel. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  27. ^ Berkowitz, Adam Eliyahu (14 October 2015). "Rabbi Shlomo Riskin: Interfaith Prayer "Bringing Us Closer" to Messianic Age". Breaking Israel News. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  28. ^ a b Berkowitz, Adam Eliyahu (15 May 2016). "WATCH: Miracle of Modern Israel Brings Jews and Christians Together in Prophetic Gathering". Breaking Israel News. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  29. ^ Posselt, Ilse (16 May 2016). ""Day to Praise" – Jews, Christians Unite to Praise God for the Miracle of Israel". Bridges for Peace. Archived from the original on 8 June 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  30. ^ Casco Herrera, Roger (19 May 2016). "Rabinos de Israel y Cristianos de todo el mundo se unen cumpliendo Sofonías 3:9 (Vídeo)". Profecía Al Día (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  31. ^ a b c Posselt, Ilse (5 May 2017). "Day to Praise – Jews, Christians Unite to Praise God for the Miracle of Israel". Bridges for Peace. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  32. ^ a b Eliyahu Berkowitz, Adam (23 April 2018). "Jews and Christians Join Together in Day of Praise for Israel's 70th". Breaking Israel News. Retrieved 24 April 2018.

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