April 13, 2024
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Riverdale’s ‘Run for Their Lives’ Demands Freedom for Hostages Now

Run for Their Lives, an organization with 52 locations worldwide, has been fervently advocating for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas for the past eight Sundays. This dedicated movement, which shows no signs of slowing down until the last hostage is freed, recently found its way to Riverdale, New York.

Inspired by their participation in the December Run for Their Lives event in Manhattan, family friends Ari Vogel and Netta Pack took the initiative to establish a Run for Their Lives chapter in Riverdale. Despite facing a gloomy and rainy morning, approximately 50 residents gathered at Seton Park on Sunday for a 30-minute walk through Riverdale’s streets, expressing solidarity for the hostages still in the clutches of Hamas.

Riverdale Run for Their Lives organizers Netta Pack and Ari Vogel.

Vogel, a sophomore at Abraham Joshua Heschel High School in New York City, shared his motivation. “We first learned about the organization from friends who attended the 100-day rally at Central Park. The idea of starting a weekly local walk for people in Riverdale resonated with us and we quickly mobilized by spreading the word through schools, synagogues and friends. Fortunately, our efforts paid off with a strong turnout and a contagious spirit.”

When she first arrived, Pack, a sophomore at Leffell High School in Hartsdale, New York didn’t know what to expect. “In the beginning, I felt nervous,” she said. “No one was showing up, the rain seemed to be coming down harder and I slowly started losing hope. Before I knew it, 50 people were standing in a circle filled with flags and wearing the number “114” on their hearts.”

Despite the rain, participants were undeterred, driven by their commitment to advocating for the release of hostages.

“Walking is the least I could do to voice the message of ‘Bring them home NOW,’” said Riverdale resident Lisa W. “As a mother and a daughter and a sister and an aunt, I cannot imagine the grief that these families must be facing. I want to do more!”

Riverdale resident Laurie Chameides and her dog join the run.

“From ‘Riverdale to Israel,’ our hearts and prayers are each day yearning for the liberation of the hostages,” said Riverdale resident Stephanie Tzvi. “As we gathered today, we reinforced our solidarity to voice this urgent matter. May we have only good news.”

The event concluded with a prayer for the hostages and the singing of “Hatikvah.” As the group dispersed, the hope lingered that the hostages would soon be freed. However, if not, they anticipate even stronger voices and increased participation in the run next Sunday, continuing their unwavering commitment to the cause.

Riverdale Run for Their Lives.
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