Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis has invited Jewish communities across the UK to dedicate a Shabbat next month to Israel.
It is expected that Shabbat for Israel, on March 8 to 9, will be amongst the UK’s largest coordinated displays of support for the people of Israel since the terror attacks. It will provide an opportunity for communities to welcome a variety of speakers and to get involved the many solidarity projects launched in recent weeks, said organisers.
These include the Board of Deputies of British Jews “adopt a hostage” campaign, donating sifrei torah to Israel, community twinning initiatives and the “Taste of Memory” campaign, which will tell the story of lives lost on October 7 through their favourite recipes.
Announcing the initiative on Tuesday, Chief Rabbi Mirvis said: “In these exceptionally trying times, our communities are united by our deep connection to Israel and our profound desire to see the Jewish State exist in peace and security. As part of our global Jewish “mishpocha” [family], so many of us identify strongly with the challenges Israel currently faces and are keen to express our love and solidarity with our brothers and sisters there in a meaningful way.
“Shabbat for Israel will provide a wonderful opportunity to do just that. I encourage all who are able to take part in whatever way they can.
The Office of the Chief Rabbi is working in partnership with the United Synagogue to deliver the project.
Barnaby Nemko, United Synagogue Director of Community Life, said it was an “incredibly opportunity to bring together our communities in a show of love, commitment and unwavering support for the people of Israel.
“We believe that now is the time to once again stand up for our friends, family and klal (whole of) Yisrael at this defining moment, with an expression of achdut (unity) through spending a meaningful Shabbat together, praying for peace for all of Israel’s inhabitants.”
The Chief Rabbi wrote to United Synagogue community leaders and those of the many independent communities under his auspices in January to recommend the idea, receiving an “enthusiastic response”, said his spokesperson.
The Chief Rabbi’s Centre for Community Excellence will be providing guidance and financial support to assist communities organise the most impactful programme possible.