Baku, February 18, AZERTAC
Hundreds of Israelis gathered at the Kotel, Western Wall, in Jerusalem’s Old City for a special prayer session on Sunday following the rapid spread of the Coronavirus in the world, according to TPS news agency.
Standing in the rain, the hundreds of worshippers joined Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, President of the Association of Community Rabbis Rabbi Uri Sharkey, Orthodox Union (OU) Israel Chief Executive Rabbi Avi Berman, and dozens of civilians from China.
The session included a prayer for the well-being of the Chinese people, prayers in Chinese and the blowing of the shofar, as is the custom in times of crisis.
One of the participants, Raphael Dahan, whose parents Shimon and Shalva are quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship at Yokohama port after Corona was discovered on board, said that he came to pray for his parents’ well-being and for the rest of Israelis to return to their home in a healthy and peaceful way.
During the event, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu noted that “so many people came here today, and many others have declared that they will organize prayers in the synagogues and schools in their communities.”
“The Chinese people should know that they are at the heart of the Jewish people who pray for them. When there is such love in the world, God opens gates and prayer is accepted. May it be truly desired that prayer be accepted with will and love and that this plague is stopped for the Chinese people and the whole world,” he said.
OU Israel Chief Executive Rabbi Avi Berman said that “praying for the Chinese people and the well-being of everyone at risk of contracting the Coronavirus is especially exciting as we stand here at the remnant of the Temple, where we pray for the nations of the world.”
“Along with thousands of others, there was a moment when I said that although I was not a doctor, a chemist or pharmaceutical company employee, I did what I could to help with our heartfelt prayer,” he said.
Chairman of the Association of Community Rabbis Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu added that “we cannot remain indifferent to the diseases and deaths that are spreading worldwide due to Coronavirus.”
“Our heart is with the Chinese people who are suffering greatly, but it doesn’t stop there. The Jewish people have a responsibility and should be busy being good to the whole world. The power of prayer is immense, and through it, we not only try to influence and ask for the Lord to stop the plague but also create our sense of caring and empathy with the Chinese people,” he said.
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