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"Prayers for Victory by Mystics in Meron"

Prayers for victory
The Palestine Post, Jerusalem, March 3, 1944

The Palestine Post was the main English-language Zionist daily paper in Palestine following World War I. It was an influential newspaper with ties to the Jewish Agency Executive, the leading Jewish authority in Palestine. Like other Jewish newspapers in the country, it followed the developments in Europe closely and firmly supported the British war effort against Nazi Germany. When news of the systematic mass murders of Jews first spread in the fall of 1942, Jewish newspapers in Palestine covered it extensively. But news about the war's military developments began dominating these newspapers' coverage of events again by the following year.1

The Jewish population of Palestine and its institutions could not do much to help European Jews during the Holocaust. Jews in Palestine were a minority population in a British dominion, and the British Empire itself was struggling in the war. Jews in Palestine were incapable of doing anything substantial to stop the genocide, but they still responded in a number of ways. Jewish public reactions included mourning ceremonies, fasts, displays of black flags, and debates about whether holding a general strike or adding extra hours to workers' days to support the war effort would make any difference. The Jewish Agency Executive even devised a number of rescue actions and military plans for helping Jews in Europe.2 

The featured item is from the third page of the Palestine Post on March 3, 1944. It points to some of the ways that Jews in Palestine mourned and commemorated the catastrophe in Europe. The short note hints at how widespread and commonplace such gatherings had become.

For the history of Jews in Palestine during the British Mandate and the war, see Dina Porat, The Blue and the Yellow Stars of David: The Zionist Leadership in Palestine and the Holocaust, 1939-1945 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990); and Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate (New York: Henry Holt, 1999).

See Porat, The Blue and the Yellow Stars of David.

This was the official name of the antifascist coalition led by the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union.

Zohar is the core text of Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah. Safed was the center of Kabbalah thought in the early modern period. See Moshe Idel, Messianic Mystics (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998); and Moshe Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988).

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Prayers for Victory By Mystics in Meron

SAFAD, Thursday. — Special prayers for persecuted Jews in Europe and for the victory of the United Nations1 were offered throughout the day by a large congregation including several hundred orthodox Jews and mystics from Safad and Jerusalem at the tombs of the Rabbi Shimon Ben Yohai and his son Eleazar at Kfar Meron in Galilee, in commemoration of the anniversary of the death of Moses, on the seventh day of the Hebrew month of Adar.

The traditional Light was rekindled at the graveside of Shimon Ben Yohai, author of the cabbalist writings, the Zohar.2

In Jersualem the anniversary was observed at morning service in the Hurva Synagogue in the Old City, when special prayers for the victims of Nazi persecution were offered. Memorial prayers were also held on the Mount of Olives and at the afternoon service at the Yeshurun Synagogue.

Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
The Palestine Post, Jerusalem, March 3, 1944
Date Created
March 3, 1944
Page(s) 1
The Palestine Post
Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem, Palestine (historical)
Reference Location
Kfar Meron, Israel
Kfar Meron, Palestine (historical)
Safed, Israel
Safed, Palestine (historical)
Document Type Newspaper Article
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