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Discover, Watch, Listen: Every Life is a Universe

It was announced a few days ago that four Israeli hostages who were held captive in Gaza are confirmed dead. It has been 242 days since October 7th and since these individuals and hundreds of others were abducted. How does one compute and begin to understand 242 days of living as a hostage? How much longer will the remaining hostages be in Gaza under Hamas rule? Our Jewish tradition teaches us that 

Whoever destroys a single life, the Torah considers it as if they destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a single life, the Torah considers it as if they saved an entire world (Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a)

The four individuals who were just confirmed dead were universes unto themselves and we should learn their names and who they were and what (and who) they loved. As you read about Amiram, Yoram, Chaim, and Nadav, I encourage you to meditate on the above Talmudic quote and the universes that are now lost. 

Amiram Cooper, age 84

Amiram was one of the founders of Kibbutz Nir Oz and was an economist who worked for many years as the chief economist of the Ma’on region settlements. He was a poet and composer, with several published books of poetry, plays and articles dealing with politics and economics. He is survived by his wife, Nurit (who was also taken hostage on Oct 7 and later freed), their three children, and nine grandchildren.

Yoram Metzger, age 80

Yoram was from Kibbutz Nir Oz and worked in the Nirlat paint factory for decades and more recently in the kibbutz garage. He was an excellent cook and a lover of history with a great sense of humour, and a dedicated drinker of the Nir Oz winery’s cellar. He is survived by his wife, Tami (who was also taken hostage on Oct 7 and later freed), three children, and seven grandchildren.

Chaim Peri, age 79

Chaim was from Kibbutz Nir Oz and retired from a military career at age 50. He was in later life an art curator, film lecturer, and peace activist who would volunteer to drive sick Palestinian children from the Gaza border to Israeli hospitals. He is survived by his wife, Osnat, five children, and 13 grandchildren.

Nadav Popplewell, age 51

Nadav was from Kibbutz Nirim. He was a dual Israeli-UK citizen and was described by his family as a family-oriented guy, devoted to his nieces and nephews, who loved to read science fiction and play bridge with his friends in the kibbutz. He is survived by his sister, Ayelet, and mother, Channah (who was also taken hostage on Oct 7 and later freed).*

To learn more about the hostages, please visit the Hostages and Missing Families Forum. You can also learn about the legal pieces (war crimes, crimes against humanity) of the hostage situation here

My heart breaks a little bit more every day. I hope you’ll join me in my prayer for the well-being and safety of all of the remaining hostages. May this come to fruition speedily. Amen.

Please let me know what you think about today’s offering: rabbiglickman@djctoronto.com. I look forward to the conversation.

*these bios were taken from this Times of Israel article

From Rabbi Ilyse Glickman:

This is our ongoing blog series to introduce the DJC community to podcasts, books, websites, and other media offerings that may expand our understandings of the current war in particular and Israel/Palestine more broadly. I hope you listen/watch/read these recommendations with curiosity, openness, and empathy. Please let me know what you think about today’s offerings: rabbiglickman@djctoronto.com. I look forward to the conversation.

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