As Israeli police and military continue their search for three teenagers who were kidnapped on June 12, the Baltimore Jewish community continues to show its support for the families and the Jewish state by joining the Three Yellow Ribbons campaign.
The campaign, started by the Embassy of Israel to the United States, has Jewish organizations tying three yellow ribbons around their signs and from trees.
“Nobody in Israel or anywhere else in the world should experience what these boys are facing,” said Linda Hurwitz, chair-elect of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. “They’re our boys, we don’t just think of them as three boys in Israel.”
Yeshiva students Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, were kidnapped on June 12 from Gush Etzion in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he holds the Palestinian Authority, which recently formed a government with Hamas, and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas responsible.
Hurwitz, along with Baltimore Jewish Council President Lainy LeBow-Sachs and co-chair of The Associated’s Israel and Overseas Committee Jason Blavatt, tied three yellow ribbons around the Weinberg Park Heights JCC’s sign Monday morning.
“This is what the Jewish community does,” LeBow-Sachs said. “People are going to tie ribbons all over until those boys are let go.”
Rabbi Chaim Landau, president of the Baltimore Board of Rabbis, read a prayer in the form of a poem for the group after the ribbons were tied.
“Oh God, please bring back our boys, and let us say, amen,” the prayer ended.
The hashtag #BringBackOurBoys went viral on social media after the kidnapping. Prior to the yellow ribbon campaign, synagogues throughout the Baltimore area held psalm recitations, and Jewish organizations such as The Associated and the Jewish Federation of Howard County expressed their support for Israel and kidnapped teens’ families and denounced the kidnappings.
At the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC on Monday morning, Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond was joined by JCC of Greater Baltimore President Barak Hermann, Jewish Community Services Executive Director Barbara Gradet and The Associated’s Chief Planning and Strategy Officer Michael Hoffman, as she and Chana Siff, associated director of Israel and government relations for the BJC, tied ribbons around the JCC’s sign.
“All of us who have children get what those families are going through,” Gradet said. “These teens are our children too.”
Hoffman said the ribbons serve as reminder that the boys are still missing.
“They need to stay in our thoughts,” he said.