Deploying the Power of the 23rd Psalm


by Fay Kranz Greene - NEW HAVEN, CT

December 30, 2003

Move over palm pilot--"psalm pilot" is here. This unique school project seeks to harness the power of prayer, especially the 23rd psalm (the L-rd is my shepherd) and the innocent faith of school children in support of our troops.

Following the 9/11 attack on America, the students and teachers of the Chabad New Haven Hebrew Day School in Orange, CT wanted to do something meaningful to help in the war against terror. They opted to say a daily prayer in honor of the American servicemen and women in the military. That initial prayer has turned into a city-wide and national program that has captured the imagination of thousands of school children and their families. More than 45 schools and organizations have asked to participate and the project has won a Paul Newman Foundation grant.

Despite its name, the project is low tech. The brainchild of Mrs. Malkie Katz, teacher and special projects coordinator, it involves a small, credit card look-alike emblazoned with the Psalm Pilot name. One side of the card has a serial number, along with the words to the 23rd Psalm. The reverse has a pledge stating that the cardholder is saying this psalm for his or her soldier partner, who bears a similar card with the matching serial number.

The cards, available with either Hebrew or English text, are distributed to schools, and Jewish organizations at a cost of $1.00 per set. The purchasers receive their cards and the matching one is forwarded directly by Psalm Pilot to a Jewish Chaplain for distribution to all members of the armed forces regardless of religion or affiliation. In response to many requests, cards have also been sent for distribution to soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces.

US Army Chaplain Captain Shmuel Felzenberg is the liaison for Psalm Pilot. He gives the cards predominantly to those soldiers who are being deployed and has distributed more than 500 at Fort Lewis alone. He recently contacted Psalm Pilot to inform them that he is being deployed to Iraq and will be in need of thousands of cards.

Felzenberg, who came to the school to thank the children personally, told them that the “recipients of the cards represent a wide spectrum of the Army military community. From veteran Colonel to newly enlisted Private, Psalm Pilot cards have met with great enthusiasm and appreciation. These servicemen and women all understand and take seriously the purity and power of prayer, especially the prayer of children.”

Mrs. Katz notes that “the twenty-third psalm, is a prayer that is rooted in our national consciousness, and has the power to sustain and inspire those who ‘walk in the valley of the shadow of death,’ as they fight to protect our freedom.”

To order the card or for further information, send an e mail to: smk1765@aol.com

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