Orthodox Jewish group calls for day of unity to counter political rancor

Andrew Silow-Carroll

(JTA) — An Orthodox Jewish outreach group that last year called for a “Day of Jewish Unity” to oppose the Iran nuclear deal is repeating the event this year, this time with the goal of countering the “polarizing political climate.”

Acheinu, based in Lakewood, New Jersey, and Israel, is encouraging yeshivas, synagogues and individuals to study and pray for peace and unity on Sept. 27, one day after the first presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Comments from both candidates are featured in a promotional video for the event as examples of “the rancor rampant in the discourse between both campaigns.”

The organization is urging Jews around the world to recite selections from Psalms and study works by the Chofetz Chaim, the nom de plume of Israel Meir Kagan, an Eastern European rabbi of the late 19th and early 20th centuries best known for his works about the dangers of gossip. Acheinu is the kiruv, or outreach, arm of Dirshu, an organization dedicated to the works and legacy of the Chofetz Chaim.

The day will include a visit by rabbis associated with Dirshu to the Chofetz Chaim’s grave in Radin, Belarus.