Vermont Jewish groups rally for release of hostages

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 3:52 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Jewish groups from across Vermont were among those rallying in Burlington Friday pushing for hostages being held in Gaza to be released.

Groups sang songs, prayed, and had a moment of silence in front of City Hall. Seats set up on the marketplace had pictures of the over 200 hostages taken by Hamas on October 7th during their attack in southern Israel that also killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Jewish leaders say the table settings were to put a face to the hostages who won’t be able to take part in Friday’s Shabbat ceremony. “Jewish tradition tells us we have to be joyous on Shabbat, we have to carve out that time. But it’s very hard to be joyous with all that’s going on right now with the unprecedented rise in antisemitism right here in America and around the world, and of course the hostages missing,” said Rabbi David Edleson with Temple Sinai VT.

“Even though we are in Burlington, Vermont, we feel the pain of the people held hostage - even a 10-month-old held hostage in Gaza under Hamas. We really pray for all of their return,” said Rabbi Eliyahu Junik with Chabad of Burlington.

Thousands of marchers — including families of over 50 hostages — embarked Friday on the fourth leg of a five-day walk from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do more to rescue their loved ones.