An Evening with the Hostage Families in New York

Tuesday, 14 November, 2023 - 7:36 am


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Praying with the Hostage Families at the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Ohel

Ten days ago, a group of Chabad Shluchim and Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP) supporters from the United States came to Israel to volunteer and support the soldiers, displaced families, and especially the families of the hostages.

Some members of the hostage families mentioned they would like to go to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Ohel (resting place) to pray. The CTVP supporters immediately offered to sponsor such a trip. Yesterday (Monday, November 13), almost 200 family members of the hostages flew to NY to pray at the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Ohel.

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(The following is a personal journal of a CTVP staff member who was privileged to be at the Ohel with the hostage families.)

I had the privilege of being at a very special and poignant event this evening. Close to 200 family members of the Jewish hostages held by Hamas came to pray at the Ohel.

It was a heartwarming evening of strength, resilience, and hope.
There were so many moments that I wish you all could have felt.
And I can’t choose just one. So I’ll share a few.

My heart was pounding as I waited for the families to arrive, sweating even though it was cold out.

My eyes teared as I saw them each come off the bus. I hugged the women, shared a word of encouragement with the men, and thanked them all for coming. And they, turning to me, thanked us for being there for them and with them. With so many people gathered to show their support, I couldn’t stop the tears.

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The words shared at the event by all the Rabbis and dignitaries were profound and full of hope, with shared prayers and words of encouragement.

When greeting the families, Rabbi Deren of Connecticut said, “I don’t understand the phrase, “Families of the hostages.” The families themselves are hostages: hostages to fear, hostages to terror, hostages to panic. Their lives are no longer normal. Their nights are no longer peaceful, and their days are full of turmoil.”

“And today, we, Jews throughout the world - as one nation, one family, Am Echad - are all hostages to the fear, terror, and panic you feel.”

Rabbi Lazar, chief Rabbi of Russia, shared beautiful words of encouragement and hope. And reminded the families that the people of Russia and the entire world over think of them and pray for them every moment of every day.

There was a beautiful video clip of the Rebbe that underscored the message of the evening: G-d is with us, especially in our times of pain. He hears us, and He is listening.

We ended the event by all going into the Ohel.

As we waited our turn, we could hear Rabbi Aharonov, head of Tzach Israel, organizer of this trip, beseeching on high in the name of all present as each hostage's name was read. One by one, in a solemn voice that broke through the quiet and the tears.

May the prayers of all the people gathered tonight go straight up on High, and


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