International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

High Holy Day Campaign for Gilad Shalit

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has launched a High Holy Day campaign for Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas from inside Israeli territory and has been in captivity for four years.

Elie Wiesel has recently written “[Gilad Shalit] was kidnapped four long years ago...four years of endless suffering and agony. To the hostage, time itself is torture. It becomes an enemy. Filled with uncertainty, his time is different from ours. His waiting is not like ours. His minutes are longer than ours.”

August 28 was Gilad’s twenty-fourth birthday. Its proximity to Rosh Hashanah reminds us all of our responsibility for one another and our responsibility to call for his freedom and to offer support to him and his family.

As the keystone for its campaign, The Conference of Presidents developed a new website,, to enable people worldwide to write supportive birthday and Rosh Hashanah messages to Gilad. The website also provides: a new video that calls for Gilad’s freedom; Gilad’s story; Elie Wiesel’s full message; and congressional resolutions on Gilad’s behalf.

The Conference of Presidents is working to provide local “mailboxes” in synagogues, community centers, and other locations so that hand-prepared cards and messages could be collected. These would be sent to the Conference of Presidents for delivery to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), urging that Hamas allow the ICRC to visit and deliver the messages to Gilad in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Watch for upcoming information about the campaign and “mailbox” locations.

As Elie Wiesel wrote in his message for Gilad, “[our] silence only helps the jailer, never the prisoner.” Spread the word about and urge your sisterhood members to visit the site and a message to Gilad.

Arzenu would like to thank the American Conference of Presidents for this initiative.

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