Update: the total is 44 plus one church*
This shabbat, prayers will be recited in synagogues around the world for Jews killed in Arab lands and those buried in cemeteries inaccessible to relatives.
Baghdad Jewish cemetery
This is the second year running that this initiative is taking place. As at 9 am GMT the number of synagogues planning to take part in the mass kaddish, or Hashkaba, was 38, or about three times as many as took part last year.
The man behind the initiative is Sass Peress, a Jew living in Montreal. It grew out of a project to clean up Sass Peress’s grandfather’s grave in the Jewish cemetery in Baghdad.
This year Shabbat falls on 30 November, the date designated as ‘Jewish Refugee Day’.
“The specific date for the commemoration was chosen as the day following the November 29th anniversary of the passage in 1947 of the UN Partition Plan, which recommended the establishment of two separate states, Jewish and Arab, in the territory of British Mandatory Palestine, because “the measures taken by the Arab League and its member states against their Jewish communities began then,” explains Ashley Perry, President of Reconectar and Director General of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Communities, who was involved in legislating the Knesset bill with then-MK Shimon Ohayon.
This year, the participating synagogues include Ashkenazi as well as Sephardi congregations, thus demonstrating solidarity across the diaspora and in Israel.
Beth Tikvah, Montreal
Congregation Chazin Ovadis, Lakewood, NJ, USA
Zayit Raanan, Efrat
Shirat David, Efrat
Shaare Ratzon, S&;P Synagogue, Old City of Jerusalem
Kehillat Lechu Neranena, Buchman, Modiin
New North London Masorti
Sephardic Minyan at Beth Sholom Congregation, Potomac, Maryland, USA
*Missione de L’Annunziata, Montreal, CA
Rabbi Joseph Dweck, senior rabbi at the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation in the UK, has composed a special prayer for the occasion:
תפלת אזכרה על מגורשי ישראל מארצות ערב
ֱאלֵֹהינוֵּואלֵֹהי ֲאבוֵֹתינוּ ָכּתוּב ְבִּדְבֵריְיֶחְזֵקאלְנִביֲאךָ)כא:יא–יב(:”ְוַאָתּה ֶבן ָאָדם
ֵהָאַנח ְבִּשְׁברוֹן ָמְתַנִיםוִּבְמִרירוּת ֵתָּאַנח ְלֵעיֵניֶהם.ְוָהָיה ִכּייֹאְמרוּ ֵאֶליךָ ַעל ָמה
ַא ָתּה ֶנ ֱא ָנח ְו ָא ַמ ְר ָתּ ֶאל ְשׁמוּ ָעה ִכי ָב ָאה ְו ָנ ֵמס ָכּל ֵלב ְו ָרפוּ ָכל ָי ַד ִים ְו ֵכ ַהת ָכל רוּ ַח
ְו ָכל ִבּ ְר ַכּ ִים ֵתּ ַל ְכ ָנה ַמּ ִים ִה ֵנּה ָב ָאה ְו ִנ ְה ָי ָתה ְנ ֻאם ְי ָי ֱאלֹ ִהים”
וַּבֲעווֹנוֹתנו ָעָשׂהְיי ֲאֶשׁרָזָמם ִבַּצּעאְמָרתוֹ ֲאֶשׁר ִצָוּהְוָרִאינוּ ִבּדָאבוֹן ִלבינו ֲהִריַגת
ַא ֵחינוּ ְו ַא ַחיּו ֵתנוּ וּ ְשֵׂר ַפת ָבּ ֵתּי ְכֵּנ ִסיּוֹת ְו ִס ְפֵרי תּוָֹרה ִבּיֵדי ְשׁ ֵכֵננוּ ָה ַעְר ִבים ֶשׁשכננוּ
ְיתוֹ ִמים ָה ִיינוּ ְו ֵאין ָאב ִא ֹמּ ֵתינוּ ְכּ ַא ְל ָמנוֹת׃ ַא ָתּה ְיי ְלעוֹ ָלם ֵתּ ֵשׁב ִכּ ְס ֲאךָ ְלדֹר ָודוֹר׃
ֲה ִשׁי ֵבנוּ ְיי ֵא ֶליךָ ְו ָנשׁוּ ָבה ַח ֵדּשׁ ָי ֵמינוּ ְכּ ֶק ֶדם׃
ֵאל ָמ ֵלא ַר ֲח ִמים שׁוֹ ֵכן ַבּ ְמּרוֹ ִמים, ַה ְמ ֵצא ְמנוּ ָחה ְנכוֹ ָנה ַעל ַכּ ְנ ֵפי ַה ְשּׁ ִכי ָנה, ְבּ ַמ ֲעלוֹת
ְקדוִֹשׁיםוְּטהוִֹרים ַכּזַֹּהר ָהָרִקיַע ַמְזִהיִרים ֶאתְנָשׁמוֹת ַאֵחינוְּוַאְחיוֵֹתינוּ,
ְוֶשִׁנְּרְצחוּ ַעלְיֵדי ַאְכָזִריםְואוְֹיִבים ָבֲּאָרצוֹת ַהַהגרים.ֶנֶהְפכוּ ַאְרצוֹת ְמגוֵּריֶהם
ְלִכְבְשֵׁני ֵאשְׁוַאְנֵשׁי ְשׁלוָֹמם ַלֲעִריִצים.ְיִהיָרצוֹן ִמְלָּפֶניךְָיָי ֱאלֵֹהינוּ, ַבַּעל ָהַרֲחִמים
ֶשַׁתְּסִתּיֵרםבֵּסֶּתר ְכָּנֶפיךָ ְלעוָֹלִמים,וְּצרוֹר ִבְּצרוֹר ַהַחִיּים ֶאת ִנְשׁמוֵֹתיֶהם,ייהוּא
ַנֲחָלָתם, ְבַּגן ֵעֶדן ְתֵּהא ְמנוָּחָתם, ַוַיַּעְמדוּ ְלגוָֹרָלם ְלֵקץ ַהָיִּמין, ִויֻקַיּםבּנו ִמְקָרא
ֶשָׁכּתוּבוָּבא ְלִציּוּןגּוֵֹאלָיֵגלַיֲעקֹבִיְשַׂמחִיְשָׂרֵאל ְבּשׁוּבְיָי ְשׁבוּת ַעמּוֹ.ְוֵכןְיִהיָרצוֹן
“Our God and God of our fathers, it is written in the words of Ezekiel your prophet (21:11-12) :
“And you, O mortal, sigh; with tottering limbs and bitter grief, sigh before their eyes. And when
they ask you, ‘Why do you sigh?’ answer, ‘Because of the tidings that have come.’ Every heart
shall sink and all hands hang nerveless; every spirit shall grow faint and all knees turn to water
because of the tidings that have come. It is approaching, it shall come to pass—declares the Lord
And for our iniquities, the Lord has done what He purposed, has carried out the decree. We have
seen with pained hearts the murder of our brothers and sisters and the burning of our synagogues
and our torah scrolls by the hands of our Arab neighbours amongst whom we have dwelt for
generations. We have become orphans, fatherless; Our mothers are like widows. But You, O Lord,
are enthroned forever, Your throne endures through the ages. Take us back, O Lord, to Yourself,
And let us come back; Renew our days as of old!
Lord full of mercy Who dwells in the heights, give rest on the wings of the Divine Presence,
amongst the holy, pure and glorious who shine like the sky to the souls of our brothers and sisters
who died and who were murdered by the hands of cruel enemies in the Arab Lands. Our dwelling
places became fiery furnaces and our friends turned to foes.
May it be Your will, Our Lord, that their souls be bound up in eternal life. God is their allotment.
And may they rest peacefully in their lying place.
And may God’s promise be fulfilled that a redeemer shall come to Zion, O that the deliverance of
Israel might come from Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of His people, Jacob will exult,
Israel will rejoice. And let us say, Amen.”