It has been 30 days since Hamas terrorists brutally attacked Israel, massacring over 1,400 people, injuring over 7,000 and abducting 240 innocent men, women and children. In Jewish tradition, the 30th day after one passes away is called the shloshim, representing the end of the intense month of mourning. Throughout Israel, tens of thousands of family members observed this solemn day of mourning for the loved ones who were slaughtered on that horrific day, together with the rest of the people of Israel.
This tragic milestone was recognized by leading Israeli rabbis, Knesset Members and faith leaders from across the world who called for a Day of Prayer on Monday, November 6.
On that day, millions of people around the globe prayed as one, appealing to God to return all of the hostages safely to their families, to protect the IDF soldiers, to heal the wounded, and to destroy Hamas and all of Israel’s heartless enemies.
Israel365 took part in this blessed initiative, hosting a prayer event at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue. The event featured a wide range of speakers including Rachel Goldberg Polin, whose son Hersh was taken hostage by Hamas, General Amir Avivi, head of Ohr Torah Stone Yeshiva Rabbi Dr. Katriel Brander, former Member of Knesset Rabbi Yehudah Glick, Israel365’s Director of Christian Relations Donna Jollay, Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon, MK Kati Shitrit, Hayovel’s Tommy Waller, and Rabbi Tuly Weisz, founder of Israel365. Throughout the evening, music was played by Yair Levi.
The event was attended by hundreds of participants and over 16,000 people joined the live stream from countries around the world.
As Rabbi Tuly Weisz explained, prayer was the central focus of the evening. “[We need to] mobilize the faith community for Israel because everybody understands that this a spiritual battle more than a military battle and for this we need to unite with our friends.”
Rabbi Yehudah Glick, founder of Shalom Jerusalem foundation, saw a vital need for the prayer gathering and personally asked members of the Knesset to participate, turning the day into a national event.
Each speaker presented a psalm or a prayer for all participants to recite together, while sharing words of inspiration and encouraging them to take action.
Rabbi Dr. Katriel Brander told the audience about a cherished metal suitcase that had been given to him by his father. The suitcase made its way to America from a Displaced persons camp in Europe after the Holocaust. The suitcase symbolized how Jews had to pack up and leave their homes because of antisemitism, an historic reality that has forced Jews to flee from country to country throughout history.The suitcase is now with Rabbi Brander in Israel, and he has brought it with him as he visits army bases around Israel. He tells the soldiers that, thanks to their selfless efforts, there will never again be a need for Jews to pack up their lives when they are threatened with violence. ‘Israel is our home,’ Rabbi Brander tells the soldiers, ‘And we must thank and pray for the safety and success of all the courageous soldiers who safeguard the Jewish homeland.”
The audience also heard from Pastor Tommy Waller, a pastor from Tennessee who moved to Israel twenty years ago to work in the vineyards of Samaria. The message to his Christian brethren was loud and clear:
“There’s one people – one group – that can change our current reality – of Hamas attacking Israel, not returning the hostages, and the world-wide antisemitic attacks against Jews,” Waller said. “The one group who can, and needs to step up and help Jews, are the 1.5 billion Christians worldwide.”
Waller emphasized that the mission of the Jewish people is to “be a light unto the nations.” “This mission doesn’t end because of this tragedy,” Waller said. “I pray for my Christian brothers and sisters around the world to recognize the importance of the Jewish people in the world.”
Rachel Goldberg Polin, whose son Hersh is one of the 240 hostages being held in horrific conditions in Gaza, spoke powerfully. Her 23 year old son was taken hostage on that fateful day by Hamas at the music festival in the South. In the attack, a grenade was thrown at him and his arm was blown off below his elbow.
Among the 240 hostages taken by Hamas are Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists from 33 different countries.Rachel stressed how imperative it is that the International Red Cross check on the hostages. Sickeningly, the Red Cross has refused to visit the hostages and fulfill its organizational and humanitarian mandate.
She lamented the reality being experienced by the hostages.
“The world generally has been very silent about action,” Rachel said. “There’s a lot of support and a lot of love, and very little action.” She noted that while so many are being held hostage, each one needs to be returned.
“The world has remained quiet on this very important issue,” she said. “[We’re even more] thankful for our friends in the Christian community who have been holding us up and keeping us going when the weight gets too heavy to bear.”
She added that in addition to the support of Christians, the book of Psalms gives her spiritual strength as “its words speak to whatever situation you’re going through, be it hard or easy times.”
She led the crowd in reciting Psalm 130, which opens with the verse: “A song of ascents. Out of the depths I call You, Hashem.”
The Day of Prayer garnered support from Catholic and Protestant leaders from a wide range of denominations, as well as rabbis from every major Jewish movement, in an unprecedented display of widespread support for Israel from Jewish and Christian leaders.