A new initiative by an Israeli-American philanthropist calls for Jews around the world to light a yahrtzeit candle (a memorial candle), in addition to the Shabbat candles lit on Fridays, in honor of the Israelis killed on Saturday, “for the rest of my life”. The intention is to remember more than 1,300 Israelis, most of them Jews, who were murdered by Hamas last Saturday.
“My name is Denise Bar-Aharon. I am a Jew. I'm an Israeli, and I'm an American,” she said in the video. She is also co-founder and CEO of the Make a Wish Foundation in Israel.
“I was thinking if there's anything I could do, and I've decided that for the rest of my life I will be lighting a yahrtzeit candle along with my Shabbat candles with my children, and with my grandchildren and my husband here in Israel.” She added that she will say, before every lighting, “we will never forget you,” to the victims.
“I welcome any of you to do the same,” Bar-Aharon added. “As [slain journalist] Daniel Pearl said before his head was cut off: ‘My name is Daniel Pearl, and I am a Jew,’ I will do the same. I have one wish, that together you join me in doing this for the rest of your days.”
In addition, South African Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, founder of the Shabbat Project, has issued a heartfelt call to Jews worldwide to demonstrate their solidarity with Israel by lighting Shabbat candles on Friday, October 13th. Additionally, Rabbi Goldstein has composed a poignant prayer intended to be recited alongside traditional blessings, invoking the divine for the safety, peace, and well-being of the Israeli people.
Rabbi Goldstein, renowned for his dedication to fostering unity among Jews of all backgrounds through the Shabbat Project, issued a passionate plea for Jews worldwide to join in a collective act of faith and support for Israel during these trying times.
“This is a spiritual war being waged against Israel, not merely for its geographic borders, but for the principles and values upon which it was founded - the world's only Jewish state," said Goldstein. "Our response must be to reaffirm our eternal Jewish values, the spiritual light of Shabbat."
In a statement released from Johannesburg, Goldstein and his wife, Gina, expressed their deep concern and compassion for the people of Israel. They extended an invitation to Jews worldwide to participate in this global show of solidarity.
"Together with my wife, Gina, we offer you our personal prayer, to recite after you light your Shabbat candles this week," Rabbi Goldstein said. "At this time of harrowing danger, let us harness the power of lighting Shabbat candles to pray for Israel. Let us pray for the families and children, and for the brave soldiers of the State of Israel. Together, let’s counter the darkness by bringing more light into the world."
The prayer penned by Rabbi Goldstein, titled "Prayer after Shabbat Candle-lighting," is a poignant invocation for divine protection, healing, and peace. It appeals to the Almighty for safeguarding the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and Security Forces, the return of captives, healing for the wounded, and eternal rest for those who lost their lives in recent violence. It also seeks tranquility, security, and wisdom for the leaders of the State of Israel.
The prayer that Goldstein wrote, reads as follows:
Prayer after Shabbat Candle-lighting
Our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, Rock, and Redeemer of Israel, hear my supplication in the merit of Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah, our mothers, and in the merit of lighting the holy Shabbat candles.
Protect and deliver the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and Security Forces, and all those engaged in saving lives, from all trouble and sorrow. Strengthen their hands and adorn them with the crown of Your salvation and victory.
I plead with You, Merciful One, in Your vast Majesty, liberate our captives, speedily deliver them from anguish to relief, and return them home to life and peace.
Save our brothers and sisters, our aged, men and women and children all who were wounded at the hands of the cruel enemy. Illuminate your presence for them and send them a complete healing, speedily in our days.
G-d, full of mercy and compassion, provide tranquil rest on the wings of the Divine Presence, for the souls of Your nation, men, women, and children, murdered in cold blood, their blood spilled like water. May their eternal rest be in Gan Eden.
L-rd, our G-d, comfort the mourners of Your nation, heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds,
Turn Your countenance, oh G-d, to those dwelling in our land, from the border of Lebanon to the Egyptian desert; and spread over them Your shelter of peace, grant them safety, tranquility, and security. Send Your light and truth to the leaders of the State of Israel, her ministers and advisors, and grace them with Your good counsel.
Speedily bring your final redemption to the world, when “death will vanish in life eternal”, when You will “wipe away tears from all faces”, when “nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore… and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the oceans.”