A global campaign to encourage women and girls to light Shabbat candles in solidarity with Israel continues again this week using the hashtag #LightForIsrael. Everyone who lights candles is encouraged to post a picture with #LightForIsrael and challenge and encourage friends to do so as well.

Among the thousands of women who are taking part in the campaign are celebrity actresses Gal Gadot in Israel and Debra Messing in California, who shared the hashtag campaign on their social-media sites before the start of Shabbat.

“This is so so important!!!!,” Gadot shared on her Instagram stories along with the hashtag and a link for people to find the blessing to be said after lighting the candles.


According to Nicole Schottenstein, a mother of four young girls, who is helping to coordinate the campaign, “Right now, everyone feels a little alone and helpless, and this is a way to come together and bring light to the dark world. They say that lighting Shabbat candles can bring miracles, and that is what we need right now.”

The #LightForIsrael campaign is being driven largely through social-media posts and word-of-mouth. As part of the campaign challenge, women are being encouraged to reach out to a local Chabad-Lubavitch emissary for a set of Shabbat candles and take a selfie with the candles prior to lighting. Participants should then post the photo onto social media and tag three other people using the campaign’s hashtag.

The final part of the campaign is to light the candles 18 minutes before sunset. Shabbat start times vary in every locale. (Click here for the time near you.)

One of those taking part in the campaign and helping to spread the world is social-media influencer Ellie Zeiler, who has 10.7 million followers on TikTok and grew up going to a local Chabad House.

Zeiler said she’s supporting #LightForIsrael because “the most important thing I know about being Jewish I learned from growing up in the Chabad community. It is that our purpose is to put kindness and light into the world.”

“By lighting a candle in solidarity, we become closer to one another while continuing to share our light,” she continued.

The Opportunity to Influence Others

But it is not just official “influencers” who can help spread the word. As the Rebbe would say, “If one knows alef, he should teach alef,” making everyone an “influencer” to bring light into the world.

Thousands of women and girls have been posting photos of themselves before lighting candles or photos of the treasured candlesticks. “The set of candlesticks are from “the old country,” posted Lori Roth Rosenberg. “They have been in my family for many, many generations. My grandmother brought them to America with her when she emigrated. When there was ‘trouble’ in (Poland or Hungary) their shtetl, which was actually smaller then a shtetl, my grandparents would tie strong rope to the candlesticks (trust me they are very heavy) and someone in the family would climb onto the roof of their house and hide them deep in the chimney. These candlesticks have been present at many of our family simchas and are priceless to me. Tonight, I use them with a third candlestick to light for Israel.”

On any given Friday afternoon, lighting Shabbat candles is a “great opportunity to reflect on one’s week, and to pause and pray for what we need and what we would like to have,” says Schottenstein. That is even more true now as women all over the globe will pray for peace in Israel, in addition to the safety of members of the Israel Defense Forces and the people taken hostage by Hamas.”

For anyone who may be worried that they won’t know what to think about and pray for during candle-lighting, Schottenstein offered: “There’s no wrong thing to ask, just pray.”

Join the #LightForIsrael campaign here!

The set of heirloom candlesticks from “the old country” posted by Lori Roth Rosenberg.
The set of heirloom candlesticks from “the old country” posted by Lori Roth Rosenberg.