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Once-a-year Jews find a warm welcome from American synagogues on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur

Throughout the High Holy Days, which started Wednesday night, American Jewish leaders are relentlessly lowering any barriers to participation, hoping fallen away Jews will feel so at home this Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur that they'll come back for good.

Those looking for last-minute seats at services can search an interactive map to find synagogues offering them. No knowledge of Hebrew? No problem. The rabbi will explain the prayers. And people more comfortable outside the sanctuary can spend part of the holiday meditating or doing yoga.

The message, congregation leaders say, is: You are welcome.

"The goal of our communities is to have tens of portals of entry which enable Jews of all backgrounds to engage their traditions," one rabbi says.