About 700 students and hundreds of excited parents gathered on Monday in Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue to mark the end of one of the largest Torah studies projects in Israel, dedicated in its entirety to the release of Jonathan Pollard and kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
The ceremony was attended by Israel’s chief rabbi, Rabbi Yona Metzger, as well Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu. The project is part of the Religious Education Week currently being held in Israel.
Six-year-olds Hadas Wolfson and Noam Yanai, students in the first grade at Kol Yaakov School in the eastern Negev city of Yeruham, were both very excited when they were called on to finish, on behalf of all the first-grade students, the study of the Book of Genesis. Yehuda Ohayon was called to complete the book of Leviticus on behalf of fellow third-graders and said: “I'm sure our learning will help bring Jonathan Pollard and Gilad Shalit home. They have been in prison too long.”
Approximately 250,000 religious education students throughout Israel took part in the nationwide project and were asked to memorize verses from the Bible after school hours, altogether covering the entire Five Books of Moses. Erez Ohayon, Yehuda’s father and Vice Principal of Kol Yaakov, noted that the students took the matter very seriously and each of them tried to learn verses at least 100 times. He explained that this is because they understand that the completion of the study of the entire Torah throughout the country depends on each and every one of them doing his part.