Over the past 18 days, most, if not all large Jewish group meetings or organizations in the area have begun or ended proceedings with tehillim said for the three kidnapped Israeli boys, known to many now by their first names: Naftali, Eyal and Gilad. Weddings and Shabbos davening, as well as daily minyanim, were punctuated by special prayers said on their behalfs. Before we learned their fate this week, many in our community itched to do even more.
Approximately 50 people joined Todd Brody for some or all of a half-marathon run across Bergen County last Sunday, heeding the call to bring more awareness to the boys’ plight. The run began in Englewood and moved to Tenafly, Bergenfield and Teaneck, before completing a circle back to Englewood. Brody was joined for the entire half-marathon by 13 people. He was joined for nine miles by a dog called Tiger. Many people cheered him at water stops and others joined him for several miles along the way. Once the group hit Teaneck, they were followed slowly by several cars blaring music, urging the runners on and trying to bring awareness and attention to the runners. Brody said that he didn’t know many of the people who joined the run in Teaneck, but was moved by the enthusiasm and energy of the event.
When the group was making its way back to Englewood from Teaneck, on Forest Avenue, a church service was just letting out. Church members asked questions of the group and learned about the situation with the boys.
Kenny Yager, a Bergenfield resident, also decided to do more to advocate for the teens. He rallied some sponsors together and ordered a thousand car magnets. Featuring the three photos of the missing boys with shuvu achim (return our brothers) written in Hebrew across the top, it had the hashtag #bringbackourboys, across the bottom. In less than a day, 900 of the magnets had been given away from the family’s front porch, and, with help from sponsors, they had ordered 2,500 more.
Rabbi Zev and Mrs. Chana Reichman, of East Hill Synagogue in Englewood, spearheaded a similar lawn sign campaign. The sign features the three pictures of the kidnapped boys. They were available in various local shuls.
Batyah Harris, a former NCSYer and NCSY advisor who ran the PeniNote women’s choir for more than six years in the Teaneck area, also last Sunday hosted a ‘women’s chizuk’ kumsitz with tehillim, song and prayer. She was inspired by Shoshanah Samuels, a local Yoetzet Halacha, who organized a similar event. The PeniNote Women’s Choir, for women of any age, is resuming as a weekly inspirational choir. No musical note-reading is required.
By Elizabeth Kratz