Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

Praying for Peace

Rabbi Avi Shafran

April 22, 2002

50,000 JEWS GATHER TO PRAY IN LOWER MANHATTAN

Under leaden skies heavy with the promise of rain, more than 50,000 Jews gathered in Lower Manhattan this Sunday to recite Psalms and pray for the safety and security of Jews in Israel, where violence against innocent men, women and children has been perpetrated with sickening regularity, as well as in other countries where anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish citizens and institutions have markedly increased.

The rain held off, though, as the streets began to fill, the seemingly endless column of worshippers fanning out from the intersection of Water Street and Hanover Plaza, the men's section - a sea of black hats, knitted yarmulkes and baseball caps - running north almost to the Brooklyn Bridge, the women's section running several blocks south to the Battery. It held off as the designated leader of the services, Rabbi Zyshe Heshel, stepped up to the podium at 2:45 to begin the Mincha service [the Afternoon Service], held off through the repeated, thunderous chants of "Amen." Throughout the responsive recitation of eight chapters of Psalms, the rain held off.

Yet the weather was apparently the last thing on the minds of participants.

"It's a tremendous merit just to be here," said one man, an attorney from Brooklyn. "It feels so good being part of this huge gathering, demonstrating support for our fellow Jews in the way Jews have always been taught to show support."

"Coming together to pray in these kinds of numbers is the ultimate expression of solidarity," was the way a woman in the crowd put it. According to the event's organizers, the gathering indeed represented one of the largest unified recitations of Psalms in modern history. In addition to the Manhattan assembly, which drew men, women and children from throughout the Greater New York area, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Maryland, parallel programs - many with live-telephone hook-ups to the proceedings in New York -- were held in at least 35 other cities including Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Boca Raton, FL; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Detroit, MI; Edmonton, ONT; Lakewood, NJ; Memphis, TN; Montreal, QUE; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Scranton, MA; and Silver Spring, MD.

For yet another participant, the "Kiddush Hashem" or "Glorification of G-d's Name," created by the dignified and respectful conduct of the massive crowd was one of the most awe-inspiring aspects of the assembly. "You have so many people in one place and practically the only sounds you hear are the sounds of prayer. That kind of decorum has to make a positive impression."

That impression was only reinforced during the event's final moments when, after the roar of thousands of voices raised in reciting the final words of the declaration of faith traditionally recited at the end of the Yom Kippur Ne'ila [Closing] service died down, the crowd slowly and quietly dispersed.

And then, a soft rain began to fall.


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

The Darkest Corner
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Seeing HASHEM with Our Hearts
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Tooth and Nail
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

> The Three Weeks: What Are We Trying to Achieve?
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

What Are We Mourning?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5771

Don't Flaunt It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Small Favors
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Harnessing Powers
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

ArtScroll

Rebuilding the Temple
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5768

The Laws of Kashrus: Is it techinical or something deeper?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Getting Our Manners In Order
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

If only . . .
Shlomo Katz - 5771

The Secret to Rebuke
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Falsehood's Foothold
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

What Causes One to be Appreciative?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information