Across the world, activists are drawing attention to the Israelis taken hostage by Hamas on the heinous attack of October 7. In art installations around the world, from New Jersey to London, empty tables and beds have been set for the at least 229 Israelis and international citizens, dozens of them children, in hopes of their return. Now, celebrities, many of whom have signed a letter demanding that President Joe Biden work for the release of the hostages, are each “adopting” one of the hostages, putting out individuals cries for their release. Their pleas have been shared on their personal accounts, as well as on a designated Instagram account called Kidnapped From Israel.
Helen Mirren, who recently starred in “Golda,” portraying Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, and who volunteered in a kibbutz in her younger years, “adopted” 5-year-old Amelia Alony, as did Brooklyn Pelz Beckham, whose father and wife are Jewish. Amelia is missing along with her mother, aunt, uncle and twin cousins Emma and Julie, who are 3. They were kidnapped out of Kibbutz Nir Oz.
Brooklyn’s wife, Nicola Pelz Beckham, demanded the release of Yahel Shoham, 3, and Jamie Lee Curtis pled for the release of her sister, Nave, 9. They were captured along with their mother and grandmother. Their grandfather was killed, along with his brother and his brother’s wife, Lilach Kipnis, a social worker who wrote a children’s book to help those with trauma from missile fire and which her two children released for free after October 7. Lilach was at first believed to be captured, but her body was recovered on October 23.
Andy Cohen “adopted” 16-year-old Sahar Dan Kalderon, while Zooey Deschanel called for the release of her brother, Erez, 12. Their mother, Hadas Kalderon, has been calling attention to the plight of the hostages. She told JTA that she hears Erez, who was captured being mahandled in Hamas videos, “screaming to me, mom, save me,” every night.
Josh Peck demanded the immediate release of 9-month-old Kfir Bibas. Peck welcomed his second son, Shai, in late 2022, who is just a few months older than Kfir. Kfir is the youngest captive being held by Hamas, along with his parents, Yarden and Shiri, and his brother, Ariel, 3, all residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz. Yarden was texting with his sister during the terrible attack, and told her that they were worried because their boys were struggling to keep quiet during the infiltration. Shiri’s parents were killed during the attack, and videos of Shiri and the boys, who were fondly called “the first Yemenite redheads,” have been circulated. A video of Yarden, gravely injured, was also discovered.
Dr. Phil demanded the release of Eitan and Iair Horn, 37 and 45, two brothers who were captured from Nir Oz and hold dual Argentinian-Israeli citizenship,
Nate Berkus demanded the release of 38-year-old Itai Svirsky. His parents, Orit and Avi, were both killed in Be’eri on October 7. Orit was an activist with the organization Women Wage Peace. Itai, who grew up in Be’eri but lives in Tel Aviv, was visiting his parents for the holiday when he was captured.
Skylar Astin called for the release of 19-year-old Agam Berger. Michael Douglas demanded the immediate release of 2-year-old Aviv Katz-Asher. She was taken along with her sister, mother Doron, and grandmother Efrat. Her father was on the phone with Doron when Hamas broke into their kibbutz. “I can’t sleep — I’m living outside my own body… I have two little babies, two little girls,” he told the New York Times. “These little babies should not be held or kept by terrorists.”
Howie Mandel called for the release of 9-year-old Ohad Munder Zichri. Ohad celebrated his 9th birthday in captivity, along with his grandparents Avraham and Ruthi and his mother Keren, who are also in Hamas captivity. “She wanted to have a child for many years and he brought a lot of happiness and light to the family,” his aunt told NBC News. His uncle was killed during the attack. His birthday was marked around the world with balloons.
Amy Schumer took on the plight of 19-year-old Karina Ariev, a surveillance soldier stationed in Nahal Oz. The morning of the attack, she called her parents crying. “She screamed and said she loves us very much,” Karina’s mother recalled. “She told us to continue our lives.”
Alyssa Milano called for the release of Ella Elyakim who is 8. Ella was last seen in a video with her hand bandaged. She is in captivity along with her sister, Dafna, who is 15, and whose “kidnapped” poster was shared by Sharon Osbourne. She was originally taken with her father Noam, stepmother Dikla and stepbrother Tomer, 17 — but their bodies were found near the Gaza border. Ella’s mother is worried that the girls saw their father murdered before their own eyes. “I’m thinking that I hope that they won’t return them to me in a coffin,” their mother, Maayan Zin, told ABC News. “It’s a rollercoaster of feelings.”
Brett Gelman called for the release of Alex Lobanov, 32. Debra Messing called for the release of Noa Argamani, a 26-year-old who was at the Supernova party. The video of her capture, shared by Hamas, went viral, and her parents have made multiple heartbroken media appearances begging for the release of their only daughter.
Juliette Lewis demanded the release of 30-year-old Ilana Camhi and Orion Padoux, who is a Mexican citizen and the partner of Shani Louk, the German national kidnapped from the Supernova party who was recently declared to be murdered. Juliana Margulies asked for the release of 13-year-old Hila Rotem-Shoshani from Be’eri.
Mayim Bialik called for the release of Clemence Felix Mtenga, 22, a Tanzanian student who was in Israel for an agricultural internship. “He should be courageous where he is, know that we love him and we pray for him day and night, hoping that he will be back soon,” his family told the BBC.
Mandy Moore shared a picture of Tal Goldstein-Almog, 11, who was captured from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, along with his mother and two of his siblings. His father and eldest sister were killed.
Phil Rosenthal called for the release of 18-year-old Tamir Nimrodi, who is turning 19 next month. “Tamir is a brilliant and smart kid who is very connected to his sister,” his father said. “We have no life since [his capture]. They ruined our lives. It’s a great and terrible shock, emotional, mental, physical, and lots of thoughts and dreams and crying. There’s no routine. There’s endless worry from morning until night with very intrusive thoughts. A lot of people are hugging and enveloping us. There’s great tension for every scrap of information that will shed some light about his situation, what’s happening with him, what they’re doing with him.”
Chelsea Handler demanded the release of 3-year-old Avigail Idan from Kfar Aza, who was hiding in a neighbor’s closet when she was captured. Her mother, Smadar, and father, Roye, were murdered. Her two siblings, Michael, 9, and Amalya, 6, survived thanks to their brother’s fortitude — he called a Magen David Adom dispatcher who instructed them how to best hide and keep safe, and to wait to open the door “until the good people came.” They were in a closet for 14 hours.
The neighbors Avigail was captured with were the Brodutch family — mother Hagar, 39, and her children Ofri, 10, Yuval, 8 and Oria, 4. Actress Uzo Aduba posted about them, writing, “Humanity. I think we can agree that all children should be kept safe and home with the ones they love. Prayers for peace.”
We pray for the safe return of every captive. We pray for peace, and safety for all.