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Statement from KEY Worldwide, a ten year old grassroots organization of women dedicated to promoting the mitzvah of v'ahavta l'reacho kmocho and achdus:
In response to the current crisis facing klal yisroel, where our people and our holiest sites are threatened, Jewish women worldwide have launched a special Shabbos candle lighting project.
The goal of this project is twofold. One goal is to encourage women who don't yet light Shabbos candles to begin doing so. The other is to ask women who do light candles to take on something extra in honor of shabbos such as going into Shabbos with a spirit of calm, or lighting candles a little earlier than usual.
The project is not sponsored by any particular branch of the Jewish community. All women, whether modern Orthodox, chassidic, charedi or from any other branch are urged to join in this effort to unite Jewish women through candlelighting.
To participate in this project, women are asked to approach at least one acquaintance or neighbor who does not yet light, and explain the mitzva and provide candles, as needed.
Women who already light candles are asked to think how they might best take on a commitment to enhance Shabbos: by lighting candles earlier than usual, by being careful not to yell or get angry erev Shabbos, by playing special music to create a mood erev Shabbat, by cooking special dishes, or by inviting guests, especially those interested in learning how to keep Shabbos.
In a time where every mitzva counts and every Jew counts, women will be making every effort to reach women who are interested in taking on the mitzvah of candle lighting. In Israel, in supermarkets and malls, women already have been setting up model "Shabbos tables" with the traditional white tablecloth, candles, etc. They explain the beauty of the mitzvah of candle lighting and pass out candles and wine to passersby. Throughout the world, women are making similar plans to reach out to their neighbors and associates.
Our tradition teaches, "Im Eshkachech Yerushalaim, tishgach yemini." (If I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its skill.) Now is the time to act for the sake of Jerusalem through increased mitzvos and now is the time to pray. As darkness and confusion threaten to overwhelm the world today, may the beautiful points of light from all the Shabbos candles create a spiritual light that dispells the darkness, and may we quickly go from darkness to the Or Gadol of Yemos Hamoshiach.
KEY in Hebrew is Kof-Yud, which stands for Kulanu Yehudim, Kulanu Yachad,
For more information, contact KEY by phone: 718-972-3047 or by fax, 718-851-2803, or e-mail: KEY@shemayisrael.com. Information about KEY can be found at KEY's website on the Internet: http://www.shemayisrael.co.il/orgs/key/index.htm