Jews pray for the Messiah on a daily basis. But on September 23, 2012, a synchronized tefillah effort swept the globe. Over 2 million Jews, from Australia to France to China, all said the same prayer at the same time, crossing not only physical boarders, but spiritual borders as well. In the first such attempt in Jewish history, non-affiliated Jews, Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Chassidim, and more joined together with the same prayer for peace and redemption. The 35-word prayer was translated into Hebrew, Russian, Italian, Spanish, and more, in order to make the prayer more meaningful to whoever was saying it. Under the title “All Jews as One,” a team of dedicated members, remaining anonymous for reasons of modesty, prepared extensively, choosing the Sunday before Yom Kippur as the powerful target date. With the blessings of many well-known Rabbanim (including former Chief Rabbi Yossef Chaim Sitruk of France, Syrian Sephardic Rabbi Yosef Galamidi, and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky), they began spreading the word by email, poster campaigns, Facebook, and a ten minute YouTube video, delivering the holy Chofetz Chaim’s words: “If only thousands and millions of sincere Jews would show G-d that they truly desire Mashiach, he would surely come that moment.”
At 5:00 pm Israel time, 4:00 pm London time, 8:00 am Los Angeles time, 11:00 am New York time, and 1:00 am on the 24th Sydney time, Jews worldwide stopped what they were doing, said the short prayer, and set aside a small amount of money for charity. People were told to donate one piece of the local currency in order to connect a meaningful action to the heartfelt prayer. At that moment, Jews in over 140 countries were connected with a deep sense of purpose and focus.
Over 2 million Jews participated in the worldwide effort, completing the prayer in a large variety of ways. One group of women described how they prayed in their garden in a circle, with their children praying in the center. Another group spoke of how they stopped a circumcision ceremony to all pray together at the correct time. Some stores closed ten minutes before the prayer, in order to enable uninterrupted concentration. One woman relayed to a representative of “All Jews as One” that while she was closing her store, she asked a customer who was still standing there if she was Jewish, and when the woman admitted that she was, the owner showed her the video. She invited the customer to pray with her, and the two women said the tefillah together.
The prayer had a strong impact on Stern students as well, whether or not they actually participated in the event. Leah Goldstein, SCW 14’, believes that “the power of that tefillah is still embedded in [her] today,” because even though she said the prayer alone in a quiet hallway, she felt the presence of the “millions [who were] saying it along with [her].” “We all hear about the power of prayer in a congregation,” explained Leah, “how much more so the power of a prayer in a group of millions!”
Shaindee Hirsch, SCW 14’, missed the set time of the prayer, yet she as well believes that she gained from the experience. “There is no deadline for davening for Mashiach,” she stated, “This program jumpstarted an awareness of Mashiach that hadn’t previously existed, but in reality this sort of prayer can be said any time, by any Jew who feels inspired. I prayed a little bit later, but I still feel like I was a part of the worldwide request.”
The display of worldwide Jewish unity and pride left participants wanting more. “All Jews as One” has mentioned organizing another prayer on the 7th of Adar, shortly before Purim.