American Jews United in Support for Missing Israeli Teenagers

Calls to Action Heard Across Denominations

Twitter

By Uriel Heilman

Published June 17, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(JTA) — The Reform movement posted a prayer. Chabad asked followers to pledge to do a mitzvah. The Jewish Federations of North America set up a Web page to express solidarity.

The disappearance of three Israeli teens in the West Bank last week is being taken as a call to action uniting many disparate elements of the American Jewish community.

At synagogues across America spanning the major denominations, Jews recited psalms or offered special prayers for the safe return of the teens, echoing a prayer rally held Sunday at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. On Monday, demonstrators held a rally in New York opposite the Israeli Consulate.

“I have a 16-year-old myself,” Steven Levine of Brooklyn told JTA at the rally. “It could have been any of us. They’re my brothers, they’re my children. That’s why I’m here.”

The missing teens – Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19 – were last seen at a hitchhiking post near Gush Etzion, a Jewish settlement bloc in the West Bank. Shaar and Frenkel were on their way home from Mekor Chaim, an in-residence yeshiva high school in Kfar Etzion run by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. Yifrach, who met up with them at the hitchhiking post, was on his way home from a pre-army yeshiva program near Hebron.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Hamas for kidnapping the teens and said he was holding the Palestinian Authority responsible.

Among American Jews, the focus has been on supporting the teens’ families, largely through prayer.

On New York’s Upper West Side on Monday evening, the Manhattan Day School organized a prayer vigil that drew hundreds of people representing multiple Orthodox synagogues and organizations.

Chavie Kahn, the school parent and board member who organized the event, praised Rachel Frenkel, the mother of one of the missing teens, for the grace she has displayed under the international media spotlight as well as for her pioneering work as a “yoetzet halachah” – an Orthodox Jewish religious adviser.

Kahn said a video of the service would be shared with the teens’ families and hoped it would provide them with some measure of comfort and strength.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.