OU Urges “Invite a Soldier to Your Seder” and Support Needy IDF Families Over Passover

21 Mar 2007


As preparations proceed for the Passover holiday celebration, the Orthodox Union has called on Jewish households across North America and around the world to reach out to their Israeli brethren and to Invite a Soldier to Your Seder, by placing OU Tefillah (Prayer) Cards at the seder table for each of their guests.

The cards, sold for $1 apiece and available from the OU, include the MiSheberach leChayalei Tzahal – the prayer for the Israel Defense Forces – for use by individuals and groups. In a milestone, the Prayer Card drive passed the $100,000 mark at the High Holy Days last fall.

The highly successful program has the double objective of praying daily for the welfare of the men and women of the IDF and at the same time of relieving the financial distress experienced by many of the soldiers and their families. The OU has already distributed money raised from the sales of the cards on several occasions prior to holidays. The funds, or gift packages they make possible, are provided to soldiers on bases throughout Israel in a process overseen by commanders, welfare officers and base chaplains.

According to Howard Rhine, Chair of the Israel Task Force Initiative, who originated the idea, “By putting a Tefillah Card with the picture of a soldier at each plate, the community can encourage prayer for Israeli soldiers while at the same time lending their financial support, and in that way enhancing their own observance of Passover.”

“The Prayer Cards, in the spirit of the message we read in the Haggadah: ‘‘Whoever is hungry – come let him eat. Whoever is needy – come and celebrate Passover,’ present us with a great opportunity to fulfill our obligations in assisting the needy, both materially and spiritually,” Mr. Rhine declared.

Cards are available with the prayer in Hebrew and English. A key verse is: “May God cause our enemies who attack us to suffer defeat at the hands of our troops. May the Holy One, may He be blessed, shield and protect them from any adversity or anguish, any ordeal or suffering, and send blessing and success to everything they do.” They also feature a full color photograph of Israeli soldiers at the Western Wall on one side and the prayer on the other.

Mr. Rhine emphasized that all money raised by the program goes to benefit individual soldiers and their families, without any deductions for administrative or printing costs. He also urged that at the seder people say the tefillah in unison to strengthen their bond with the IDF.

Contributions may be sent to the OU-IDF Fund at the Orthodox Union, 11 Broadway, New York, NY 10004.

The prayer is available in both Hebrew and English versions. In addition to the credit-card size version which sell for $1, the OU also offers 8 ½ by 11 inch posters, suitable for hanging in homes, synagogues and schools, which are available for $5.

To order or for more information, contact 212-613-8385 or shopou@ou.org.