“These faces that you see, we don’t know how many of these people are still alive,” said Rabbi Linda Bertenthal. “Some of them may be long dead. We don’t know. Their families don’t know,” Bertenthal added.
Compassion and concern for those missing in Gaza has prompted the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities to create this display at the Beit Shalom Jewish Community building in Davenport. Pictures of the victims lean on empty chairs.
“We did this demonstration because we wanted to remember them,” said Allan Ross, the executive director of the Jewish Federation. “It’s been four months now and a lot of people have forgotten.”
Linda Bertenthal and her husband Philip have a connection to one of the victims. A family friend – 19-year-old Naama Levy – was captured on her second day of serving in the military overseas.
“Every time I stop and focus on their situation, I lose it, emotionally,” said Linda Bertenthal.
They also want others to know that things that happen a world away can impact people in the Quad Cities.
“That’s really important for people to understand because we frequently don’t know this,” said Philip Bertenthal, board member of the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities. “I certainly know in terms of my family but I’m sure there are other families in other places around the world that have that have those local connections as well.”
The display also includes photos of a family of four, including a toddler and one-year-old, who were kidnapped.
“Who kidnaps babies and keeps them for four months, hostage?” said Ross. “They are one of the big symbols of ‘Get the hostages back now.’”
The Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities plans to expand this display to other rooms.
“We wanted to remind people that we care about these hostages,” said Ross. “We want them back home as fast as possible and hopefully most of them are alive and will come back soon.”
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