The Jewish community in the Bay Area raises awareness about hostages in the Israel-Hamas conflict during Shabbat events.
During Shabbat, traditionally a time for families to celebrate a day of rest in the Jewish community, the Israel-Hamas war has cast a somber shadow over the observance. In Foster City, a poignant display was set up, one of six across the Bay Area and part of similar exhibits worldwide. The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) arranged a long table at Leo Ryan Park with 240 empty chairs, symbolizing the kidnapped hostages held by Hamas. Each chair featured an attached photo and a brief biography.
“People are coming here to honor the kidnapped hostages and to see their faces, to find out and see how old they are, how young they are and to pay their respects,” said JCRC Community Engagement Director Rebecca Goodman.
Similar solidarity tables were also up in Berkeley, Napa, San Francisco, Sausalito and Walnut Creek.
“What’s important about this exhibit is these are faces and stories for each one of these and that’s what I hope doesn’t get lost in our world, that we don’t forget these are individual people. They are parents. They are children. They are siblings. They are loved ones,” said JCRC board member Natasha Kehimkar.
Some people who attended Friday’s events say they now plan to head to Washington DC next week for a big rally at the capitol.
There are no set plans for another exhibit in the Bay Area. But organizers say, unfortunately, with the ongoing situation in the Middle East, more events are being planned.