Tefillin: The Pulse of Israel

Tefillin: The Pulse of Israel

by Rena Udkoff - Jerusalem

May 23, 2017

Tefillin Anyone?

The Tefillin campaign established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1967 to raise awareness of this cardinal mitzvah, has since been promoted by Chabad emissaries and adherents all around the globe. As Israel is home to the world’s largest Jewish population, Chabad has focused intense efforts on tefillin in the Holy Land.

Now approaching the 50th anniversary of the campaign, Chabad will ramp up its tefillin activities. Rabbi Meir Leider, who is part of a committee dedicated to improving and enhancing the nation-wide tefillin effort, says that today Chabad in Israel shares tefillin with about 13,000 Jewish men a week. Yeshiva students, rabbinical students and Chabad lay people dedicate time every week to participate in the campaign.

With a target goal of raising Chabad’s “wraps a week” to 20,000, Leider and others have created new materials to step up the outreach. New, premium and weather proof tefillin bags have been created to allow ease of use, and clever pop-up tables and awnings that weigh under five lbs make setting up a tefillin booth anywhere quick and easy. The changes translate to numbers: in the time it once took a volunteer to wrap tefillin with 20 men, he is now counting 40.

Chabad is also adding more permanent tefillin stations. Today, five are scattered throughout the country, including the stand at the Kotel and a kiosk at Ben Gurion airport. Five new locations are in the works, bringing the country wide total of permanent tefillin spots to ten. Some of these have set the bar high, aiming for 30,000 wraps a month.

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