The country's chief rabbis are calling for a mass prayer rally Thursday in the hope that heavenly intervention will stem the global financial crisis. With Jewish philanthropists reeling and Israeli businesses preparing to make major layoffs, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar have decided that this Thursday, the first day of the Jewish month of Kislev, will be a special day of prayer. "Education and Torah institutions are failing to make ends meet, and many are in danger of closure," wrote the two rabbis in a statement. "Factories and businesses are firing workers, and many household heads are no longer able to support their families. Therefore, we call on the public to pray one hour before mincha [the afternoon prayer] on Thursday in synagogues across the nation." Religious institutions have been among the hardest hit by the economic downturn. Many are totally dependent on foreign donations. In recent weeks, the heads of some of the largest kollels have complained that they have returned empty-handed from fundraising campaigns in the US and Europe, saying philanthropists hurt by the financial crisis are no longer willing to make contributions.