An organization called Elef L’Mateh has been arranging for yeshiva students to pray and dedicate their religious studies to the merit of individual soldiers currently on operations in Gaza.

Elef L’Mateh – whose name is drawn from a biblical phrase in the Book of Numbers referring to the Israelite soldiers going to war (“1,000 from each tribe”) – has a central call center staffed by volunteers in Jerusalem.

The organization says family members of active soldiers call in to submit the names of their relatives.

According to the organization’s director, Rabbanit Yocheved Grossman, thousands of yeshiva students have called to request the name of one of the soldiers in order to pray for their well-being.

“Mothers and wives call to give in their son’s and husband’s names and are so appreciative and encouraged by what we’re doing,” said Grossman, who lives in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She’arim in Jerusalem.

The idea of creating a database of soldiers names to pray for came to the rabbanit when Rehovot Chief Rabbi Simcha Hakohen Kook, and the late head of the Bostoner hassidim Rabbi Levi Yitzhak Halevy Horowitz, wrote a joint letter asking the Jewish people to pray for IDF soldiers during Operation Cast Lead, which took place from late 2008 to early 2009.

“Knowing that religious Jews will be praying for their loved ones means so much to them...We’re getting two to three phone calls per minute,” she said. “We’ve had 15,000 calls in the last three days.”

The rabbanit also emphasized the need for national unity.

“We’re one nation, we’re all one people and we have to help each other. Any differences between us are irrelevant. We’re all God’s beloved children.”

Names of soldiers can be submitted at myahadut@ inter.net.il or via telephone at (02) 5811-911.

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