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Remembrance Day: Push to read Psalms for fallen haredi soldiers

CM 12/04/2021

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 Two organizations are partnering to promote the reading of chapters of the Book of Psalms in memory of fallen IDF soldiers and terror victims for the upcoming Remembrance Day in an initiative called “For Every Victim there is a Chapter.”

Now in its seventh year, the initiative’s founders have emphasized what they say is the extra importance of the program this year following a year of severe societal tensions between ultra-Orthodox society and the general public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
The Gesher organization for societal cohesion and the Dossim initiative together with the “Tehilim Yahad” website have created a platform whereby the public can read a chapter from the Book of Tehillim dedicated specifically to a victim of hostile action against Israeli soldiers and civilians in the 73 years since the establishment of the State of Israel. 
Gesher Director Ilan Geal-Dor said that the societal divisions that have been exposed this year by the COVID-19 crisis made the project even more important. 
“The project was created out of a desire and a need to show to the entire Jewish people that the ultra-Orthodox sector is not that small group of people who walk during the siren on Remembrance Day or ignores the Health Ministry regulations but rather a large and broad [sector[ which feels the pain of the nation and wants to contribute to the memorialization and to raise up the souls of fallen IDF soldiers,” said Geal-Dor. 
Anyone wishing to participate in the initiative can go to the website of “For Every Victim there is a Chapter,” where they will land on a page dedicated to a specific fallen soldier or terror victim.
Immediately below the victim’s name appears a link to a webpage on the Defense Ministry’s website which tells the life story of the individual.

The text of a psalm appears further down the page, with buttons available to indicate when the chapter has been completed, a reminder to read the psalm later, and to share the project on WhatsApp. 
Participants can also leave well-wishes for the family of those who have died. 
“I see more and more haredim who want to be part of Remembrance Day and who think it’s part of their lives as well,” said Geal-Dor. 
“People always used to go and try and show that the haredim don’t stand in silence for the siren, and specifically this year we wanted to show how Remembrance Day connects us, and to do things together and find the things that unite us. 
“It is another small thing we can do to decrease the tensions and find points of connection between the ultra-Orthodox and and the secular.”
Akiva Weisfeld, one of the founders of the initiative, said that saying psalms is the classic religious way to commemorate and memorialize the dead in Jewish tradition, and is a practice believed to elevate the soul of those in whose name the psalms are read. 
“Religious Jews don’t believe so much in flowers and sirens as way to remember the dead, reciting psalms is the what we think is the best way to memorialize them,” said Weisfeld. 
“Before this initiative, I didn’t think there was an orderly or organized way for remembering fallen soldiers within the ultra-Orthodox community.
I wanted to show that haredim do care about fallen soldiers including classic haredim who loke like me,” said Weisfeld, a Belz hassid. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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