MORE than 1000 members of Sydney’s Jewish community gathered in solidarity on Monday evening, praying for the safe return of the three kidnapped teenagers in Israel.
Approximately 800 people filled the Moshe Triguboff Auditorium at Moriah College, while at Masada College, more than 500 people turned out.
At Moriah, Rabbi Benji Levy, Dean of Jewish life and learning, opened the proceedings.
“Tonight we come together in solidarity. We come together to send a message to the world. And to shake the heavens to say ‘bring our boys home’,” Rabbi Levy said.
Students led the crowd in Avinu Malkeinu and Acheinu, while Nicole Vernon, who has children of similar ages to the kidnapped boys, gave her perspective with a speech inspired by Israeli blogger Hilary Faverman.
“Have our boys had breakfast? Are they okay? Are they warm? Do they know we are looking for them and praying for them?” she asked.
“If this were any of our sons, we would give anything to the kidnappers to return them. Our Israeli politicians are responsible for making unimaginable decisions,” Vernon said.
Former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who is visiting Australia as a guest of the Sydney Beth Din, was present to deliver tehillim (psalms).
At the same time, Kehilat Masada on Sydney’s North Shore was filled almost to capacity for a service facilitated by Rabbi Gad Krebs.
He noted that all North Shore synagogues were represented, in addition to schools and communal organisations. The evening included a communal maariv, psalms, and the singing of Acheinu.
“Everybody was very clear of why they were there,” Rabbi Krebs told The AJN. He said that when Jewish people talk about being family, it is not meant in a cliched sense. Rather, when Jews are in trouble, no matter how far away, we all feel it. “That’s what motivates us to come together,” he said.
The events were supported by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the Zionist Council of NSW, the Zionist Federation of Australia, as well as a number of other organisations.
For full coverage, see this week’s AJN.
Former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Shlomo Amar delivered tehillim at Moriah College on Monday. Photo: Giselle Haber.