In an effort to honor the memories of the victims who were brutally murdered in a horrific terrorist attack in a Har Nof synagogue on November 18, the widows and families of three of the victims are urging Jews around the world to participate in International Tefillin and Candle Lighting Days on December 18 and 19.
As part of the project, which will coincide with the Shloshim (30-day mourning period) of the victims, the widows are encouraging Jewish adult men to don Tefillin and say the Shema prayer on Thursday, December 18. It is a symbolic and spiritual gesture in honor of the memory of the victims, each of whom was wearing Tefillin and in the midst of their morning prayers when the terrorists struck. Shema, the most famous prayer in Judaism, was the last prayer that the victims had completed before being murdered.
In addition, Jewish women are urged to light Shabbat candles before sunset, just after lighting the Chanukah candles, on Friday, December 19.
The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), which is actively publicizing and promoting this special initiative, is asking other Jewish organizations to join their call and to urge their members to participate in the International Tefillin and Candle Lighting Days.
“As Jews, we have to be able to learn and grow from even the darkest of tragedies that impact our brethren,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss. “In the aftermath of the shocking murders in Har Nof, the National Council of Young Israel joins with the widows of the fallen rabbis in exhorting world Jewry to light Shabbat candles on December 19 and for Jewish men to put on Tefillin on December 18 to honor the memories of those who lost their lives in this massacre through spiritual growth and the observance of Mitzvot.”
“As we mark the Shloshim of the holy men who perished in the deadly terrorist attack in a Har Nof synagogue, we are proud to join with their families to promote achdut (unity) among our fellow Jews,” said NCYI Director of Outreach and Development Rabbi Yakov Couzens. “We hope that people will reach out to their personal and professional contacts and encourage them to participate in this beautiful and meaningful mitzvah.”
For more information about the International Tefillin and Candle Lighting Days, go to www.youngisrael.orgor contact Rabbi Yakov Couzens at 212-929-1525 x101or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information as to how to properly put on Tefillin or light Shabbat candles and Chanukah candles, visitwww.youngisrael.org.
The following is the text of the letter from the widows of the Har Nof victims:
International Tefillin and Candle Lighting Days – December 18 and 19
We are moved by and give our endorsement to the idea proposed by the National Council of Young Israel to have a worldwide Tefillin day, on Thursday, December 18, in honor of the Shloshim of our husbands. We ask all Jewish adult men around the world to take time on this day to put on Tefillin and say the Shma to fulfill the Mitzvah of Tefillin. Doing this Mitzvah would mean a lot to us as a continuation of the many mitzvoth that have been lovingly expressed by Our People as a statement of Achdus resulting from this tragedy.
Our husbands were wearing Tefillin and the Shma was the last prayer they had completed in full before being attacked.
We also encourage the idea for women worldwide to light candles for Shabbat and in the memory of our husbands along with the lighting of Chanukah candles on Friday, December 19, the fourth night of Chanukah. The darkness of what happened to our families could use the illumination of the Mitzvah of the lighting of these Shabbat candles and blessings.
These Mitzvahs are fitting ways to honor the memory of our husbands and actions that we believe they would have supported. We call on all Jews to perform these mitzvahs and ask all Jewish organizations to help in these efforts.
Mrs. Chaya Levin and family
Mrs. Bryna Goldberg and family
Mrs. Yaacova Kupensky and family