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‌In Face Of Atrocity, Jews Around The World Unite For Shabbat‌

Global Jewish groups  have responded to Hamas attacks with calls to light Shabbat candles as a symbol of unity and strength.

This week will mark the third Jewish Shabbat since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct.7, killing nearly 1,400 innocent civilians and taking scores more hostage.  

For Jews around the world, this is an opportunity for healing and community. Shabbat is a Jewish day of rest and celebration, observed each week from Friday night to Saturday night. Its rituals include blessings on wine (kiddush) and bread (challah), as well as candle lighting. 

In wake of the attacks, Jewish groups around the world have shared calls to action to light the Sabbat candles with special prayers.

One of these came from the chief rabbi of South Africa, Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, who explained the significance of showing support for Israel through Shabbat.

“It’s no coincidence that Hamas attacked on Shabbat – Shabbat is who we are,” said Goldstein. “It is the very soul of the Jewish people. It is the God-given gift that has within it everything we need at this time of historic challenge, and forever: resolve and inner peace, faith and purpose, family and community. And the meaning of being a Jew.”

In a statement, Goldstein noted that he shares the prayer as a personal offering from himself and his wife, Gina Goldstein, who helped him found another Shabbat initiative, The Shabbat Project, a decade ago.

The Shabbat Project is an international grassroots movement that brings together Jews from all walks of life and all levels of observance to keep one Shabbat.

Goldstein’s focus on candle-lighting has reached hundreds of thousands of people through emails, social media, and candle distributions, according to Robin Meyerson, an Arizona resident who serves in the chief rabbi’s North American office.

“I am talking to people of all ages and Jewish backgrounds all over the country and globe about candle lighting,” said Robin. “The response, over and over, has been that in the face of the inhumane, evil murder of innocent Jewish families by Hamas terrorists, we need to show strength – and so we light Shabbat candles to show that light will always prevail over darkness.”

“I am trying to breathe into all of these objects and all of these rituals an even deeper sense of wholeness, and safety and blessing,” said Emily Kane Miller, who also heeded the chief rabbi’s call to kindle the Shabbat lights, to Los Angeles’ Spectrum News.

Dede Sanders, from Arizona, echoed that sentiment.

“In the wake of these tragic events, Jews from diverse backgrounds have joined a spiritual army and have discovered a profound unity in prayer and in the lighting of Shabbat candles,” she said. “This act goes beyond a mere ritual; it symbolized our unity and our collective strength.”

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