BY FREDA MIKLIN
On October 20, The Tel Aviv Museum of Art set an empty Shabbat table for 200 hostages taken by Hamas terrorists on October 7. Their families came and stood by the empty plates to remind the world that their loved ones were still gone and no one knows if they are sick or hurt or alive or dead.
On October 26, synagogue members and volunteers set an empty Shabbat table for 224, the current estimate of missing hostages taken on October 7, outside Aish of the Rockies Center for Jewish Outreach on East Belleview Avenue in Greenwood Village.
There were flyers that said KIDNAPPED in large capital letters, along with names, ages, photos, and nationalities of those kidnap victims whose families have chosen to provide the information to the public. The photos included infants, twin toddlers, at least one American, and several Israelis in their 80s. It is hard to imagine their condition after weeks of captivity.
The Villager talked with Aish Rabbi Menachem Siderson, who told us his congregation decided to create this empty Shabbat table because, “It’s incredibly moving. We were moved when we saw it. We hope others will be moved by it. Seeing the enormity of the numbers…it’s hard to wrap your mind around what it means for 224 hostages being held for what is now (as of October 26) two weeks in who-knows-what type of conditions. We don’t want the memory to fade away.”
He continued, “One of our beliefs is that we are all one people. We feel each other’s pain and we bear their burden, as well. It’s hard because they are so far away. This table makes it real for us and by having it outside where it can be seen by everyone who walks or drives by Belleview Avenue. It makes it real for the whole community. We want to get a positive message out about Israel. Everyone can understand that the kidnapping and holding of these innocent people was a huge part of what started a chain of terrible events, and it is a tragedy that must be solved. We’ve already had a lot of people stop by and ask questions. We hope that will continue. We can’t let these people be forgotten.”
Empty Shabbat tables for all the hostages kidnapped from Israel on October 7 and still held by Hamas terrorists were also set for Shabbat dinner on Friday, October 27 in Tenafly, NJ, Beverly Hills, CA and Detroit, MI.