“In the shadow of the Israel-Hamas war, [over 300] North American rabbis from across the denominations have joined over 80 Israeli colleagues in signing a plea to free Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip and support their families.
In the letter, initiated by Shalom Hartman Institute and the Midrasha at Oranim’s Israeli Rabbis Network, the rabbis pray and emphasize the need for a collective effort to secure the release of the hostages and to stand united in unwavering support of their families, calling for governments worldwide to exhaust all available means to gather information about the captives and their well-being, advocate for humanitarian intervention and ensure their safe release.
The letter reads as follows, ‘In these painful days, as we grapple with immense sorrow for the loss of so many innocent lives while also feeling inspired by stories of heroism, we are constantly reminded of the faces of the sons and daughters of Israel who have been so tragically torn from their families. Babies, children, young women, young men, mothers, fathers, and the elderly were all kidnapped by Hamas, cruel perpetrators of evil and wrongdoing. Our brothers and sisters, abducted and held captive, are desperately pleading for help and rescue. They surely believe that we will not stop trying to ensure their safe return, entrusting us with their hopes for deliverance.
These profoundly difficult days test the very essence of our Jewish values and the strength of our Jewish-Israeli covenant. Throughout the ages, our tradition has mandated the redemption of captives. As Rabbi Yosef Karo quotes the Rambam (who was extraordinarily emphatic in stressing the importance of this mitzva) in the Shulchan Aruch, ‘Every moment that passes without redeeming a captive when it is possible to do so is equivalent to shedding blood.'”
Read the full article here.
Read the full plea and list of names as of October 29 (Hebrew and English) here.