Next Monday, schoolchildren all over Israel will join together in prayer, in a major event organized by the Mibereishit organization. The event, organized in conjunction with the Gush Etzion Regional Council, will be broadcast on the radio and worldwide on the Internet by Israel Radio's Moreshet channel.
Hundreds of elementary age schoolchildren will visit the tomb of Rachel, where they will pray for the health of sick people, and ask G-d for bountiful rainfall. Tens of thousands of others will watch the event from their schools, where they, too, will join in the prayers. The prayers at Rachel's Tomb will be led by Rabbi Haim Druckman, head of the Bnei Akiva yeshivas in Israel.
Beginning on Thursday night, prayers for rain are recited during each of the three prayer services daily. The prayers for rain continue until Passover.
This is the eighth year that Mibereisheet – also known as the Foundation for Jewish Renaissance – is sponsoring the event. The organization was established by Rabbi Mordechai Elon, and seeks to deepen Jewish identity for Israelis and Jews in the Diaspora in a fun, experiential manner.
The organization's main tool to accomplish this is a weekly colorful booklet with stories, games, puzzles, riddles, and contests that are distributed to children in elementary grades, discussing the weekly Parsha (Torah portion of the week read in synagogue on the Sabbath). The booklet, said the organization, is “designed to present Jewish wisdom in an age appropriate manner within relevant frames of reference that speak to a child in a compelling manner.”
In addition, Mibereisheet sponsors group activities, parent/child study events, musical concerts, field trips, and other gatherings, all designed to enhance Jewish identity among both religious and secular children.