The Institute for Public Affairs of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America asks all synagogues to devote this Shabbat to raising awareness among congregants of the plight of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
The program, titled “Shabbat Ne’edarei Tzahal,” urges the Jewish community to contact elected officials and request that the U.S. work toward Shalit’s release.
The week of Parashat VaYeishev was specially singled out for Shabbat Ne’edarei Tzahal. Parashat VaYeishev recounts the story of Mechirat Yosef (the selling of Joseph), and achingly describes the heartbreak of Jacob, who remained inconsolable for his loss. Jacob was torn by doubts and questions concerning his beloved son Joseph’s fate (see Rashi, Bereishit 37, 35). Similarly, the Jewish community cannot rest until its Jewish son is freed from prison and reunited with his family.
On June 25, 2006, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted at a border crossing at the Gaza Strip, near the area of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, and has been held in captivity by Hamas since. A video of Shalit was released on October 2, 2009, showing him to be alive, but he remains a prisoner in Gaza. Hamas has repeatedly denied International Committee of the Red Cross requests for access to Shalit, and has demanded the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit.
Click the link below for the OU’s booklet of materials for prayer and activism.
Shabbat Ne’edarei Tzahal 5770: A Compilation of Materials for Prayer and Activism