The Board of Deputies has launched a new initiative encouraging synagogues in the UK to “adopt a hostage”.
The scheme is intended to shine a spotlight on individual hostages who are still being held captive in Gaza, with synagogues and Jewish communities liaising with the hostage’s family to provide support as well as publicity for the “adopted” captive.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said the initiative would enable communities in the UK to play an active role in helping the hostage families. “Jewish communities all around the country have told us they want to do something to help in this awful situation,” said van der Zyl. “This is a way in which they can keep the names of the hostages in the public consciousness and provide support to their loved ones.”
Any synagogue can sign up to adopt a hostage, and those that do so will be encouraged to post on social media about the hostage, include them in prayers and reach out to local press to talk about him or her as an individual.
Participating synagogues are also encouraged to reserve a space for the hostage in their prayer hall by placing his or her photograph on a seat.
According to the Board of Deputies, some 20 synagogues have already come forward to join the initiative. The Jewish organisation has also been holding twice-weekly hostage vigils at Westminster while Parliament is in session, which they are encouraging more people to join.
Over 240 people were taken hostage by Hamas on October 7 and 132 remain in captivity.
If your community is interested in taking part in the “Adopt a hostage” scheme, email: email@example.com