We Must Do More

Tags: Federation, Blog, Israel

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On March 1, 2024, Shlomo and Mazal Mantzur celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. It was the worst anniversary they’ve ever had. For the first time, Mazal did not have a blessing written for her by her husband. Shlomo didn’t get a single homemade cookie from his bride.

Shlomo Mantzur

Today, Shlomo turns 86 years old – and it is the worst birthday of his life.

For Shlomo and Mazal, nothing has been right since October 7, 2023, when Shlomo was one of the hundreds of people kidnapped from their homes by Hamas terrorists.

We met Mazal and Shlomo’s adult children last week when we visited Israel with a group of Jewish Clevelanders. Their daughter, Moshit, told us about the day that changed everything for her family, her country, and the Jewish people. When her parents were captured and tied up by members of Hamas that rampaged through the peaceful Kibbutz Kissufim, her mother watched in horror as the terrorists slapped Shlomo. She said she pleaded with them to stop. The fact that he was an old man did not matter to them.

As the Hamas terrorists labored to get Shlomo into the car that would take him into the unknown deep within Gaza, Mazal was able to escape to safety in a neighbor’s home.

Mazal and Shlomo’s story was just one of the many truly horrible accounts of that day in October we heard on the trip. And the stories about the experiences of those hostages that have been released by Hamas – accounts of physical and sexual abuse, as well as inhumane living conditions – only further compound the trauma of the families still waiting to have loved ones returned.

We will be spending more time with the Mantzur family and the Kissufim community in the weeks, months, and years to come. As you may have seen, we are partnering with this community as they begin the long process of addressing their various needs. We are their new family.

It has never been more important to spend time in Israel than now. By being there, you help reaffirm that we are one people … and by being together and strengthening those connections, you help provide the resiliency the Jewish people need to survive. We have several upcoming trips being planned, including a volunteering mission. We hope you will join us and encourage others to as well.

The humanitarian needs in Israel are great. The challenges the people of Israel face are many. But nothing matters more than getting the hostages home. Now.

Until then, no meaningful progress can be made, nor healing can be achieved.

We must do more to remind the world that there are 134 innocent people still being held hostage by Hamas, including Shlomo. We must do more to help put international pressure on Hamas to agree to a ceasefire deal and release the remaining hostages. Far too many people have already endured the cruelty of war. We must do more to end the suffering and help create a lasting and peaceful future for the Israeli and Palestinian people.

We must do more so that, next year, we can all celebrate Shlomo’s birthday in Israel with our extended family on Kibbutz Kissufim.


Daniel N. Zelman
Board Chair

Erika B. Rudin-Luria

p.s.: We will continue to update you on the critical work being done in Israel. For news on upcoming events and ways you can help us do more, please be sure to follow us online for the latest information or visit www.jewishcleveland.org.

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