update deskIsrael at War

Passover 2024

UK holiday campaign urges families to set a ‘Seder Seat for a Hostage’

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has sponsored the initiative with the support of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.

Empty chairs in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat show pictures of civilians being held hostage by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Nov. 14, 2023. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.
Empty chairs in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat show pictures of civilians being held hostage by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Nov. 14, 2023. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.

The leading Jewish organization in the United Kingdom has launched an effort to keep the hostages being held in the Gaza Strip in mind as the holiday of Passover approaches.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews announced its “Seder Seat for a Hostage” campaign urging Jews to add one more chair to their seder table.

“We would recommend that people download and print out a picture of a hostage,” Daniel Sugarman, director of public affairs for the Board of Deputies, told JNS, noting that the organization had made the images available on its website. “Then display that sign on a chair at the seder table. If people also wish to post a picture of that seat at their seder table prior to the festival coming in, we would also welcome them doing so.”

The hashtag #SederSeatForAHostage can be used when sharing photos for the campaign. The Hostages and Missing Families Forum supports the initiative.

“We want to draw attention to the plight of the hostages, but we also want to make sure that they are remembered as part of the Seder,” Sugarman told JNS. “We feel strongly that the seder—Z’man Cherutenu—needs to have an element which does not allow us to forget that there are people in captivity.”

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, called the campaign, “Commemorating the Festival of Freedom, Remembering Those in Captivity.”

She said, “As in ancient days, we call ‘Let Our People Go”—Jewish, Muslim, Christian or Buddhist—the hostages must all come home.”

Van der Zyl said that “when we recite the words ‘Next Year in Jerusalem,’ we will be thinking of all those who are not with us for the seder this year, hoping for their safe return.”

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