#TefillinAgainstTerror campaign launched against terror and antisemitism

Shining light through darkness in response to the murder of Eli Kay, South African immigrant to Israel.

By JNS.org

Eli Kay was 25 years old. He was a South African Jewish tour guide who made Aliyah some years ago. On Sunday morning (November 21, 2021), he was gunned down by a Hamas affiliated terrorist on his way to pray at the Kotel. He had his Tefillin in hand.

While this act of terrorism has been an unimaginable tragedy for his family and friends, it was also an attack on the Jewish people’s right to pray at the Kotel, our holiest site.

Rabbi Ari Shishler said, “We are all in shock over the heinous murder of our friend Eli Kay. This was not an attack on an individual. It was an attack on Jews, Judaism and the conscience of all civilised people.”

It required a collective Jewish response, and thus the #TefillinAgainstTerror campaign was created by Michael Kransdorff, Rabbi Ari Shishler and Rabbi Eitan Ash, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In the loving memory of Eli, and as an act of defiance against terror and antisemitism, everyone who can is encouraged to:

  1. Put Tefillin on
  2. Take a picture
  3. Post a selfie with the Hashtag #TefillinAgainstTerror on:
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The campaign has been gaining momentum, with thousands of people all over the world responding, including from far-flung places like Aruba and Mexico. People in Israel have seen the posts and have been visiting the Shiva house offering to put Tefillin on in his memory. The family is overwhelmed with the love and support they have received.

In the run-up to the Festival of Lights, the campaign has been broadened to include posting selfies of people lighting Hanukkah candles. There is a strong parallel with the Hanukkah story. The Greeks tried to deny our rights as Jews to pray in the temple, yet we overcame them and responded by lighting the Hanukkiah. Hamas, and our enemies today, have the same ill intentions, however, we will once again respond to their darkness by creating light.

Michael Kransdorff says, “Now is the time for a united response in Eli’s memory, and to say, ‘Am Yisrael Chai!’ We think the #TefillinAgainstTerror campaign and Chanukah lighting does that in a powerful way.”

Follow the campaign and share a photo of yourself on Facebook: @TefillinAgainstTerror, Instagram: @TefillinAgainstTerror and Twitter: @TefillinforEli using the hashtag #TefillinAgainstTerror.