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Pittsburgh Women Unite to Create Light

The turbulent events in Israel sparked a mitzvah-focused movement across Pittsburgh, impacting hundreds of Jewish women from diverse backgrounds to unite and usher in the light of Shabbos.


Nowadays, the world seems to be entrenched in darkness, but as the sun began to set late on Friday afternoon in Pittsburgh, hundreds of women united with a simple yet powerful act of spreading light. The flicker of fire ignites the wick, accompanied by whispered prayers, welcoming in the serenity of Shabbos. 


In the span of three weeks, 700 women collectively lit 2,000 Shabbos candles. It all started when a community member approached Mrs Chani Altien, a Shlucha in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. Unsatisfied with just contributing financial aid, and with the awareness that not everyone is in a position to do so, she felt a unity campaign of some sort would go a long way toward expressing solidarity and providing spiritual help to those suffering in Israel. 


“Together, we launched the ‘Light for Israel’ campaign, and it rapidly gained momentum,” says Mrs. Altein. “Using the OneMitzvah platform, hundreds of women from diverse backgrounds embraced this opportunity, eager to contribute spiritual protection for the soldiers and hostages. We hope this campaign will be the catalyst for many more women to continue performing this special mitzvah each week.”


Encouraging words were shared in a video collage on the campaign site, providing strength and meaning. Naomi, an IDF lone soldier from Squirrel Hill, expressed her gratitude, saying, “Thank you for your prayers and support. We feel it, and we are relying on it. Am Yisrael Chai!”  


Shabbos candle kits, available for pickup at various locations throughout the city, made this mitzvah accessible to anyone who wished to get involved. Some had been lighting Shabbos candles for many years, and some did so for the first time, but all dedicated this special mitzvah to the merit of their Israeli brethren. 


Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L'inyonei Chinuch, said, “Grassroots campaigns such as this are truly the backbone of the Rebbe’s vision to unite Jews and illuminate the darkness all over the world with the simple act of a mitzvah.”


The Candle Lighting initiative was spearheaded by Mrs Chani Altien, and led by the following Shluchos and community leaders: Rebbetzin Blumi Rosenfeld, Batya Rosenblum, Miri Goldwasser, Esther Schapiro, Leah Feller, Sarah Rosenfeld, Sara Weinstein, Chasi Rothstein, Chani Silverman, Bassie Rosenfeld, Chanie Rosenblum, Hindy Rosenblum, & Rivkee Rudolph.


Whether celebrating joyous occasions, providing strength to heal, or giving support amidst loss, turn your personal moments into a mitzvah opportunity. Personalize your campaign today at onemitzvah.org


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