Broad Spectrum Supports Solidarity Atzeres in Manhattan

NEW YORK -

A broad spectrum of U.S. kehillos are supporting a atzeres tefillah to take place on the streets of Lower Manhattan Sunday, an organizer told Hamodia.

The atzeres, which was called by U.S. Gedolim at the request of Gedolim in Eretz Yisrael will take place on Water Street this Sunday. It will begin with Minchah at 2:00 p.m., said Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin, who is arranging the logistics for the event.

“A very broad spectrum of  Yeshivishe, Chassidishe, Litvishe and Sephardic Gedolim are supporting this,” Rabbi Gertzulin said.

A kol korei of the U.S. Gedolim is currently being prepared, as well as a separate kol korei from the Israeli Moatzos of Agudas Yisrael, Degel HaTorah and Shas. They will be publicized on Wednesday or Thursday along with other pertinent details.

The gathering will echo this past Sunday’s huge atzeres tefillah in Yerushalayim, which brought out hundreds of thousands of Jews in response to the Israeli government’s ongoing attempt at social engineering of the chareidi community, including wholesale conscription of bnei yeshivah.

Since the state of Israel’s inception young men engaged in full-time Torah study have been deferred from military service. Those avreichim and their families have willingly accepted the consequent relative poverty and the limitations thereby placed on their ability to eventually enter the workforce. In recent years, political and legal efforts have been made to change that modus vivendi and pressure talmidei hayeshivos to join the military.

Most recently, the chairman of the Yesh Atid party and current minister of finance Yair Lapid has mobilized Israeli sentiment against the chareidi community’s way of life, and promoted universal (although not for women or Arab Israelis) conscription.

Legislation to draft large numbers of full-time yeshivah students in stages, complete with criminal penalties, even including imprisonment for those who do not register, is currently before the Knesset, which is expected to pass the bill within weeks.

The New York asifah will include a special area for women. It will begin with Minchah and consist only of the recital of Tehillim and special tefillos.

The podium where the shaliach tzibbur will stand will be on the corner of Water St. and Old Slip (midway between Broad Street and Wall Street). Massive sound trucks will be strategically placed throughout the vicinity to project audio.

As organizers expect a large turnout, New York residents are urged to take public transportation to the site, which is well serviced by the subway system, and not to attempt to drive into Manhattan for the gathering. They request that anyone driving in should park on the Brooklyn or New Jersey side and take a train in to the city. The A and C trains stop nearby.

The Brooklyn Battery tunnel will have all lanes open on Sunday, a departure from the usual weekend schedule. In addition, there are ongoing discussions with transit officials to have regular weekday schedules for trains going from south Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan.

For those outside the subway system, such as Lakewood and Monsey, buses will bring participants to the location. There are already plans for chartered buses from cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, upstate New York, Orange, Sullivan and Rockland counties, Lakewood, and other New Jersey communities.

Detailed maps of the area, with access points, bus parking areas, and the place set aside for women, will be released on Friday.

The weather Sunday is predicted to be much warmer than now. While attendees should dress warmly, Accuweather.com is forecasting that Manhattan will be 40 degrees with calm winds during the day.

A huge security presence will be in the area, with the NYPD conducting periodic sweeps prior to the event. Most major streets in the area will be closed to vehicular traffic and everyone will need to pass through a security check before being allowed in. Organizers ask that attendees not bring knapsacks, briefcases or packages in order to keep lines flowing.

Hatzolah and Shomrim will be on hand.

According to the police, they will not allow any signs or placards to be held aloft during the atzeres.

Organizers asked that all participants cooperate fully with demands by the NYPD and MTA. “We want to show police and the world that this is an orderly respectable gathering,” Rabbi Gertzulin said.