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TBI Stands with Israel

 Thoughts on the Hostages, The Fast of Esther, & Purim 

Sent on March 20, 2024

Shalom, Friends,
When you enter TBI through the main lobby, you will see a number counter. Today is Day 166.
For Jews all over the world, we don’t have to explain what that number means. Every Jew is at once brokenhearted and enraged that 134 of our brothers and sisters are still being held hostage.

And we feel helpless.

But there are some things we can actually do, if not to free the hostages, then at least to help keep them in the forefront of the public’s too-short memory. This past Sunday, March 17, Day 163, Rabbi Perlman joined the weekly March for the Hostages in New York City. Every Sunday, at 11:00 am, a group of Jewish activists, organized by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum,

organizes a march on behalf of the hostages.

Participants meet at 90 the St. and Central Park West, just inside Central Park. Following a few speeches, which help to set the tone for the March, everyone sings Hatikvah. Then the group walks/runs around the Central Park Reservoir. The March is open to the public. If you are available on a Sunday at 11:00 am, we encourage you to join the group.

The following are some of Rabbi Perlman’s reflections from the march this past Sunday:

When you enter the Park, you can’t miss the group, many people are waving large Israeli flags high in the air. On Sunday, about 350 people gathered to march together.

The speeches are meaningful and remind us of the urgency of getting the hostages out of Gaza. One of the most moving speeches came from a family member of Hersh Polin, who was taken hostage with a severe injury to his arm. In a tearful voice, Hersh’s relative said that knowing there are so many Jews in America who care about Hersh is what helps her get out of bed every morning.

Another speaker shared that “today” (March 17), was the birthday of Amiram Cooper, the oldest hostage – he turned 86 in captivity. The speakers also gave us two suggestions for actions we can take.

First: In the Megillah, Queen Esther asked the Jewish community in Persia to fast and pray for her before she went to see King Achashveirosh. According to our tradition, this fast is what helped to save the Jewish people from Haman’s evil plan. So, for those who are open to it, we can fast and pray on behalf of the hostages tomorrow (Thursday), which is Ta’anit Esther, the Fast of Esther. Because this fast is only a sunrise-to-sundown fast, the speaker said it would be like intermittent fasting – just skip breakfast and lunch, and eat dinner! Or just do a partial fast – skip breakfast and fast until lunch. Whether or not we fast, we can all say a prayer for the hostages – either a prayer from our heart, or the Prayer for the Welfare and Return of Israel’s Captured and Missing (you will find a link to the prayer below).

Second: We all know who the Bibas Family is – Shiri and Yarden, and their two beautiful red-headed sons, Ariel, age 4, and Kfir, who turned 1 in captivity – were abducted on Oct. 7. Last year, Ariel’s Purim costume was Batman, and before he was taken hostage, the four-year-old said he was planning to dress up as Batman again this Purim. When asked why he wanted to be Batman, he said: “I want to rescue people from trouble.”

This Sunday, which is Purim, many marchers in Central Park will be wearing black capes, a la Batman, as a way to remember little Ariel. And it was suggested that if anyone has any Batman paraphernalia, you should wear it on Purim in honor of Ariel Bibas.

May God watch over the hostages and the men and women in the IDF who are protecting our Jewish homeland. May God also watch over the Palestinians of good will. And we pray that this war leads to new conditions on the ground, which will enable greater peace, security, and dignity for everyone.

B’virkat Shalom / With Blessings of Peace,
Rabbi Mishkin & Rabbi Perlman 

A Prayer for the Redemption of Captives

A Prayer for Israel at War

A Prayer for the Soldiars of the IDF

 

Mon, May 20 2024 12 Iyyar 5784