The Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) organised a moving prayer vigil at St Kilda Shule on Wednesday, October 11 to stand in solidarity with Israel. The evening was a reflective blend of Torah, prayer (tefillah) and charity (tzedakah), aiming to support both the victims of terror in Israel and the courageous Israeli soldiers.
Rabbi Moshe Kahn, RCV co-vice president, opened the event, addressing a gathering of approximately 800 attendees. Rabbi Kahn highlighted the deep connection each person present had with their homeland and emphasised the strength found in unity.
He reminded everyone: “We must focus on the things that bring us together. Every good deed that we do has a profound impact on the universe and will help protect Israel’s brave and holy soldiers.”
State member for Caulfield David Southwick and federal member for Macnamara Josh Burns joined forces to demonstrate bipartisan support for Israel’s right to defend itself against acts of terrorism. Throughout the evening, various rabbis representing different facets of the Orthodox community recited prayers and psalms.
RCV executive director Rachel Mihalovich shared a heartfelt reflection on her daughter’s experience on a base near Gaza during a merciless attack on Shabbat morning. Mihalovich recounted the heroism of the base commanders and the courage displayed by the recruits during the nearly 24-hour defence. Tragically, six commanders and one trainee lost their lives in the battle. She expressed pride in her daughter’s service in the Israeli army and commended the community’s commitment to boosting their morale, raising funds and attending prayer and solidarity rallies to support their beloved homeland.
Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, RCV co-vice president, and Rebbetzin Sarah Rabin conveyed words of solidarity, with Rebbetzin Rabin encouraging everyone to take on an additional mitzvah and light Shabbat candles to bring light into the darkness.
The evening reached its powerful climax with RCV president Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn, Rabbi Jonny Brull, Mizrachi Hesder boys and chazan Brett Kaye singing blessings and songs for the safety of the state of Israel, its soldiers and those who have been affected by the conflict.
The RCV has initiated the 18 for Chai (life) campaign, where a rabbi or rebbetzin from the community presents a 10-minute Torah learning and tehillim via Zoom every workday at 1pm for 18 days. This initiative is dedicated to the safety of those in Israel and the courageous soldiers defending our homeland.