Critical Mass Unity
Critical Mass UnityiStock

Apparently anti-draft demonstrations and IDF soldiers being attacked by some haredim are phenomena accompanied by a countercurrent within that community that hardly receives as much year-round media exposure as does the violence. It is a brotherly spirit of reconciliation, respect, and an awe-inspired desire to demonstrate appreciation for Israeli military service and sacrifice with no relation to group affiliation or outward level of Jewish observance.

"Every fallen soldier has a chapter" is the name of the haredi project to learn Mishnah, say Tehillim (Psalms), or take upon one's self a good deed in memory of the souls of the 23,645 fallen in Israel's wars.

The project was so successful this year that the initiative's website crashed during the siren due to the many thousands of surfers entering at once.

החיבור של הילדים החרדים לזכר הנופליםבאדיבות 'המקור', ערוץ עשר

As part of the preliminary campaign for the project, dozens of haredi Facebook celebrities and personalities, such as reality TV actress Batya Schiff and media personality Yisrael Cohen, called on their communities to join the initiative under the social media hashtag #אמור_וזכור - "say and remember".

Thanks to the campaign so far more than 80,000 chapters of Tehillim have been read in the framework of the project, so that every single soldier who fell in Israel's wars has had Psalms chapters prayed for his soul's ascent an average of three times.

The haredi project also mentions a particularly interesting halakhic ruling and gives it practical expression: The instructions of the late haredi Sefardi spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef that one must also recognize the contribution of the non-Jewish fallen in wars of defense for the Jewish people.

Therefore, the project also includes the non-Jewish fallen in Israel's wars, and recognizes their contribution to the defense of the Jewish People.

The project began four years ago by a group of young haredim who call themselves dosim (usually derogatory term for haredim) and in cooperation with the Gesher reconciliation group: "In these days it's most important of all that the entire Jewish people in all its diversity and sectors be united," notes Gesher Director Ilan Gal-Dor: "We invite each and every one of the haredim and secular alike to stop for a minute and say a chapter of Psalms, and thus to act in their memory and give the souls of the fallen an ascent, and also for the unity of all the citizens of Israel."