How to Help the Hostages

Never again. Yet it happened again.  Oct. 7 was the most lethal day for Jews since the Holocaust. The atrocities included brutual kidnappings. 

I first heard the name, *Hersh Goldberg-Polin, when reading our synagogue advocacy newsletter. Our rabbi is good friends with Hersh’s family.

Hersh’s mother wrote:

“(He) was camping with his best friend at an outdoor music festival near Israel’s border with Gaza when Hamas terrorists began firing machine guns into the crowd of mostly young adults. An estimated 260 people were killed in that attack. We later found out Hersh and his friends managed to escape by car but the vehicle came under rocket fire. They were forced to stop and take cover in a roadside bomb shelter. Terrorists then attacked the shelter, blowing off Hersh’s arm from the elbow down by machine gun fire or a grenade or both.”



Hersh is now a hostage, along with  approximately 199 others (including babies, children, women, the elderly, and the disabled).  In addition, we are devastated to share that Omer Neutra, a Ramah Nyack alumnus, has been reported missing and is believed to be one of the hostages held by Hamas following the weekend terror attacks in Israel. Omer worked on the swim staff at Ramah Nyack during the summers of 2018 and 2019. Omer made aliyah soon after graduating from high school and now serves in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  Orna Neutra, Omer’s mother, is a former member of our Midway Jewish Center Sisterhood Affiliate in BQLI. This is a worldwide emergency; besides Israel, the hostages originate from 10 different countries.

The UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said, “Taking hostages in the context of hostilities constitutes a war crime. The civilians taken by Hamas must be immediately released, pending which their fate and whereabouts must be disclosed.”

We’ve all heard these horrific stories of Hamas’s recent atrocities and abductions. We feel helpless, yet there are actions we can take to try to free the hostages.



Send a message to your U.S. senators: As former Congressional Staffer, Tom Nichols, says in the Atlantic Daily, “Members of Congress …. do in fact pay attention to messages from their district.”  So, make a difference. But do it now, before it’s too late.


Write your own message. Or, if you wish, here’s one you can copy and paste:

Dear Senator,

Innocent people are being held by Hamas and are in dire need of medical attention. I’m urging you to call for the immediate release of all hostages.

The office of Senator Durbin (IL) has agreed to take the lead on coordinating a bi-partisan push to raise awareness for all US hostages.

Please contact Chris Homan at Senator Durbin’s office: ( or Cynthia Bajjalieh: ( and join the effort.

This is an urgent request; approximately 200 lives are at stake. Thank you for your quick action on this matter.


(Your Name Here)


Please email your letter to your U.S. senators as soon as possible:

LINK TO U.S. SENATORS’ EMAILS  or use Google to obtain your U.S. senators’ email addresses.

Whoever saves one life saves the world entire. — paraphrased from the Talmud

Am Yisrael Chai,
Laurie Silverblatt
Chair, WLCJ Resolutions and Public Policy Committee

Dear AJC Friend,

Take action now to urge Congress and the UN to secure the immediate release of the more than 199 Hamas-held hostages in Gaza.

Your elected officials in Washington and leaders at the UN need to hear from you.

It only takes 15 seconds: Write your members of Congress and add your name to AJC’s petition to the UN urging immediate action to bring the hostages home.

Last week, Hamas terrorists invaded more than 20 communities throughout Israel and committed the most lethal attack on Jews since the Holocaust.

Over 1,400 Israelis, including women, the elderly, and infant children, were slaughtered, and Hamas mercilessly kidnapped 199 people, including young children.

When you add your name, you will be joining 110 Jewish organizations from more than 40 countries in urging the UN, U.S. Congress, and all governments to take swift action to secure the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages.

The hostages include nationals of at least ten countries in addition to Israel: the U.S., France, Thailand, Germany, Nepal, Canada, Ukraine, Mexico, Brazil, and more. Some are in dire need of urgent medical attention. This is a global human rights crisis.

We need the support of the U.S., the UN, and all governments to rescue the hundreds held captive by the Iranian-backed terror group. Sign on now and urge Congress and the UN to ensure the swift and safe release of all the hostages.

Time is of the essence, and the lives of these hostages hang in the balance. The world’s response to this atrocity will echo in the annals of history.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Julie Rayman
AJC Managing Director of Policy and Political Affairs