Photo Credit: Flash 90
Israeli Jewish men put on tefillin at the entrance to Carmel Market in downtown Tel Aviv

Rabbis in European communities are distributing hundreds of sets of tefillin, free, in order to enable Jewish men who need them to be able to fulfill the mitzvah of praying with the phylacteries. The project is being funded by Israeli business owner Rami Levi.

To avoid fraud, a statement is required that the applicant actually needs them and undertakes to pray with them every morning.

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The Center for European Rabbis announced the campaign to distribute the sets after raising the donation from Rami Levi, in memory of their friend Rabbi Benjamin Wolff – rabbi of the town of Hanover, Germany – who died of complications from COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

The council of rabbis said there are many adult Jewish men who are not necessarily religious and yet who would like to put on tefillin and a prayer shawl each morning, but who do not have the wherewithal to obtain these sacred items.

The director of the Center for European Rabbis, Rabbi Arye Goldberg, realized that the current situation in the communities during this period of transition with the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis was one that presented an opportunity to assist these men; together with Rabbi Maimon Avitan, rabbi of Ha’Shikma marketing, persuaded the owner of the chain, Rami Levi, a regular donors to the center, to fund the project.

Levi joined the mission and provided the rabbis with more than NIS 1 million to purchase hundreds of sets of tefillin.

Members of congregations are now invited to contact their local rabbis to submit a request for a set. In order to ensure the sets reach the right hands, the donation is being limited to two sets per congregation.

In addition, a statement from the individual’s rabbi is required, documenting that the person in question really does need them and intends to pray with them daily.

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