Emanuel Synagogue is proud to be participating in the Missing Heroes initiative, led by Rabbi Benji. Each person taken captive in Gaza has a community, a family and a life they were living. And, each person is an entire world to someone (Sanhedrin 37a). Sometimes, because we are missing so many individuals, we lose a personal connection to each of them, and often see the missing as a whole collective.

The Missing Heroes Initiative empowers communities and individuals to personalise this situation, by adopting a specific name, face and story that they can connect with in a profound way.

At least one community in Israel and one community abroad will adopt a Missing Hero. This collective endeavour aims to strengthen the global Jewish community’s bond with the ongoing situation in Israel as part of our ‘mutual responsibility’ (Shvuot 39a). Through this personal connection, prayers, activities and actions for the safe return of all the hostages are more heartfelt and sincere.

Emanuel Synagogue has adopted eight-year-old Ella Elyakim, who, together with her sister Dafna, was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on 7 October 2023 from their father’s house in Kibbutz Nir Oz. When the Hamas terrorists came in, they made them sit in their living room and started a Facebook Live, where he asked them their names and shot their father in the leg. They took her father and father’s partner’s son to their neighbour’s house to get the neighbours out of their safe room. Ella and her sister were taken into Gaza and her father, his partner and her son were found dead by the border.

Read the coverage of Ella’s abduction at the Times of Israel.

It’s devastating to read of Ella’s horrific experience.

Ella will have a seat at every Shabbat service at Emanuel Synagogue, where we invite our community to join us in prayer for her safe return home, and for her recovery from this traumatic and unthinkable ordeal.

Learn more about the Missing Heroes initiative here.