From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With Gratitude 12/1/23

By Shelley Hubal

“From a place of deep pain we hold strong for you, Omer. We speak in your name tirelessly, we hope and we pray and we act, and I want to believe that our prayers and actions have power. “ – Orna Neutra, mother of Omer Neutra, one of the 240 hostages held by Hamas.
“To demand the release of the hostages is not an act of politics, nor is it a cry for war. It is an act of love and a cry for humanity.” – Alana Zeitchik, cousin of six of the hostages held by Hamas.

“Our hearts are bruised and seeping with misery, but the real souls suffering are those of the hostages.” – Rachel Goldberg, mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, currently held as a hostage by Hamas.

On November 14, Orna Neutra, Alana Zeitchik and Rachel Goldberg stood before an estimated crowd of 250,000 people at the National Mall in Washington, DC. In the crowd were Jews and non-Jews, Democrats and Republicans, and people of all ages. All were there to demonstrate their support for these families, their love for Israel and to raise their collective voices against terrorism and the alarming rise of antisemitism. Amongst the 250,000 were six committed souls from Binghamton who boarded a bus well-before dawn to witness this historic gathering. I was honored to be one of them.

As representatives of all the families of those held in captivity by Hamas, these women courageously opened their aching hearts and cried out demanding the release of the hostages. Their words brought the crowd to attention.

By sharing just a snippet of their messages, I hope you will understand their pain and torment because we must never forget. Never forget their names. Never forget the torture they are experiencing. Never forget how fragile life truly is. Never forget to raise our voices on behalf of those that cannot. We must act and pray for their lives and the lives of those in captivity because when one Jew has a heart that is “bruised and seeping with misery,” we are all bruised and seeping with misery.