RCA and OU Urging Rabbis and Member Synagogues to Dedicate Sabbath Service

Posted on June 16, 1999 In Press Releases

The Rabbinical Council of America and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America will dedicate this week’s Shabbat services to the thirteen Iranian Jewish religious and communal leaders in Shiraz and Isfahan. Special prayers and Tehillim will be said for their safety and quick release. Among the recommended chapters of Tehillim (Psalms) to be recited are chapters 130, 121 and 20. Rabbis are being asked to give drashot (sermons) on the importance of the Mitzvah of Pidyon Shevuyim, the redemption of the captives.

Mandell I. Ganchrow, MD, Orthodox Union President, said, “The Orthodox Jewish community has been shaken by the arrest of the thirteen Iranian Jewish teachers, rabbis, and communal leaders who have been arrested on trumped up charges of espionage. The mitzvah of Pidyon Shevuyim obligates us to save those whose lives are in immediate danger. Since the charges of espionage in Iran carry the death penalty and seventeen Jews have been executed since 1979 in Iran on similar false charges, we are dedicating this coming Shabbat to the study of Pidyon Shevuyim and to tefillah.”

Rabbi Kenneth Hain, RCA President, said, “In our tradition, the mitzvah of redeeming of captives is among the highest expressions of compassion and is a religious duty of the greatest importance. The RCA membership and the Orthodox Union synagogues around the country will join together this Shabbat in solidarity with Klal Yisrael on behalf of the Iranian Jews whose lives are in jeopardy.”