Melbourne prays for kidnapped teens
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Melbourne prays for kidnapped teens

IT was standing room only at Caulfield Shul on Monday night as the community banded together to show solidarity with the three Israeli teenagers reportedly kidnapped by Hamas last week.

IT was standing room only at Caulfield Shul on Monday night as the community banded together to show solidarity with the three Israeli teenagers reportedly kidnapped by Hamas last week.

The prayer rally for Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah, was spearheaded by the Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria and the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, but attracted support from across the religious spectrum with tehillim read by representatives of a broad cross-section of the community.

Among those reciting prayers were Zionist Federation of Australia president Danny Lamm, as well as Rabbis Yaakov Glasman, Yaakov Sprung and Chaim Tzvi Groner, and Cantor Michel Laloum.

The hundreds of attendants also heard from Caulfield Hebrew Congregation’s Rabbi Ralph Genende and Organisation of Rabbis of Australia president Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant.

Members of the gathering, linked arms and wept as the prayers were read during the moving service.

Rabbi Genende delivered an impassioned plea for the safe return of the boys and condemned the kidnapping “in the strongest possible terms”.

“They were simply making their way home from school when terror struck,” Genende said.

“As we gather together tonight, we pray in solidarity for the speedy and safe return of the missing boys. We come together for these three young students, we come together because this is what we do as a community as an act of solidarity. This is what we do for those families who are going through the most incredible agony.”

Rabbi Kluwgant spoke of the deep-seated issues Israel faces in the region, saying that “no amount of negotiation for land, or prisoners or anything else will fix this problem”.

“These three young boys, teenage students, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel were kidnapped, not because they are Israelis, not because of land issues, occupied or otherwise, or housing, or East or West Jerusalem, or one or two or 10-state solutions – they were kidnapped because they are Jewish – pure and simple,” Kluwgant said.

“They were kidnapped by terrorists who hate Jews and do not wish for peace but to see an end to the very existence of the Jewish nation.

“Negotiating for land and people with terrorists who still to this very day do not acknowledge Israel’s right to exist; will not bring about peace. Certainly not the peace we pray for and wish for when we sing ‘oseh shalom bimromav’,” he added.

For full coverage, see this week’s AJN.

ADAM KAMIEN

Rabbi Ralph Genende.

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