On Monday, Beach Hillel gave Long Beach State campus members the opportunity to see the faces of the hostages taken from Israel by Hamas members during the Oct. 7 attack.
Beach Hillel is an organization that “enriches the lives of Jewish students in LB and West OC,” according to its Instagram bio. Members of the Long Beach State chapter used the lawn on the Quad to display posters featuring the hostages’ faces. The posters were weighted to the ground and had a blue or white balloon attached, to represent the Israeli flag.
Beach Hillel members and other people working at the event were present to answer questions and talk to those who were interested.
Hillel president Eliana Eisen said that this display was to honor those on campus who have family members in Israel, including among the hostages.
“It’s purely just to honor those who’ve been taken,” Eisen said. “A lot of us here have close family members who are over there right now, some of which I know, some of which who may have had people taken themselves.”
Psychology major Coby Shuman said that he hoped people would find common ground about their feelings concerning the kidnapped in Gaza.
“I hope that people see it and I’m hoping that people who are as disturbed by the situation as we are feel like there are others around them who are also as disturbed,” Shuman said.
ChayaLeah Sufrin, executive director of Beach Hillel, said that the display was supposed to draw attention to the situation of the hostages taken from Israel.
“The goal of this is to have people stop and notice that there are 240 hostages, Israeli hostages being held by Hamas, a terrorist organization,” Sufrin said. “We’ve had multiple marches and walk-outs on this campus in support of that and we’re here to say that we are thinking about our brothers and sisters.”
One of the posters Sufrin pointed to was of 2-year-old Aviv Katz-Asher. According to the poster, she is Israeli-German.
“Israel is doing everything in its power to bring back the hostages and to minimize all the casualties regardless of what the news says, regardless of what people here say, you could just follow the news and follow the stories and understand what’s going on,” Sufrin said. “We just want to raise awareness and we want our brothers and sisters home.”
People on campus stopped by and took a closer look at the posters attached to the balloons.
Business major Joel Duarte said that from what he saw, he appreciated that the display “has like a little awareness.”
Omri Schiff talked about the display in relation to the other campus events that have taken place surrounding the war that began after Hamas’s attack, including a walk-out and two marches for Palestine.
“I think it’s good, it is good for people on campus to see it to because there are many pro-Palestinian protests here on campus,” Schiff said. “It’s good to hear other voices too.”
Hillel member Adam Fagin said that he felt he achieved his objective staying and talking to passersby at the event.
“We’ve had some really good conversations with people coming by and I think we were able to finally get our voice heard a little bit and open up that discussion on both sides so that we can all act civilly towards one-another and understand each other’s struggles,” Fagin said.