Juliana Margulies wept during an appearance on Israeli TV’s Channel 12 News earlier this month when recounting her reaction to the October 7 attack in Israel that took the life of 1200 Israelis.
When journalist Dana Weiss asked the Jewish actress to talk about those first moments after she read the news of the Hamas attack, she choked up.
“I can’t talk about it without crying, I’m sorry,” she told Weiss, lifting her black-rimmed glasses and wiping her eyes. “It was surreal to hear what was happening to you… It was terrifying and frightening and I couldn’t stop thinking about my grandparents and what they went through,” the granddaughter of Eastern European immigrants shared.
She emotionally shared that after it happened she “naively” thought “the word would anchor us in our grief,” but instead, she said, Jews in the U.S. “felt alone,” and that loneliness was what spurred her to action. “I’m on WhatsApp all day long,” she said, “trying to raise money” and “doing everything I can.”
She explained to Weiss that if something like this had happened to 50,000 Americans, the proportional number of victims to American citizens, she believes that there would be such outrage, but feels that because it happened to Jews, it didn’t register as strongly with many of her peers.
“It’s baffling to me not to have my industry behind me,” she shared.
She also told Weiss that even in the streets of New York, where she lives, she feels “worried and weary” as a Jew. “The rhetoric is so strong and horrific.” She says that she knows that if she sees someone tearing down posters of the hostages, something that’s happened with frequency around the world, she will have to step up.
Margulies was on Channel 12 news due to her tireless work to help Israelis in crisis and to draw attention to the plight of the families of the hostages in Israel over the past several weeks. Like many other mostly Jewish Hollywood stars, she’s “adopted” an Israeli hostage to help humanize each and every one of the over 200 taken captive by Hamas. Specifically, she’s adopted 13-year-old Hila Rotem-Shoshani and Yarden Roman-Gat, 35. Roman-Gat and her husband and daughter were kidnapped by Hamas from Kibbutz Be’eri, but jumped out of the moving vehicle used by their kidnappers and started running for their lives. Yarden handed her toddler daughter, Geffen, to her husband, Alon, because she couldn’t run as fast, and was recaptured. After hiding for 24 hours, Alon and Geffen made it back to Kibbutz Be’eri. Aside from Yarden, Alon’s sister is also assumed to have been captured.
“As a mother I can’t imagine what she is and has gone through. I think about what I would have done in that same situation,” Margulies wrote on her Instagram. “It’s unfathomable to me to make such a brave choice and yet I think every mother I know would have done the same thing.”
Yarden’s brother Gili Roman also appeared on Channel 12 News with Margulies to talk about their meeting and his relationship with his sister. He and the actress met for two hours in New York in early November, when Roman was visiting the city to speak at a rally for the hostages during NYC’s marathon. Families of the hostages also visited the city in late October to speak at the U.N. Roman said when he met Margulies, he felt “completely exhausted,” but that “she gave us so much energy and hope.” He felt humbled that “someone who has such a huge platform is willing to share it” with the families of the hostages.
Roman also said that Margulies had been a feature in their living room for many, many years.
“Me and my sister, we got along so well, we never had a fight, but we did get in arguments if I watched an episode of ‘The Good Wife’ without her,” he said. He added that while Yarden is shy and introverted, Julianna is one of their supporters who he knows for sure she’d love to meet (Gili and Julianna have already made plans to get together in Israel one day).
“I feel like I’m part of the family now… to be honest, meeting him and being able to put my arms around him is what so many of us in the States want to be doing,” Margulies said about her meeting with Gili. “We want to let you know that there are people who care.”
A hostage deal was announced this week, but it’s unclear whether Yarden will be one of the eight women released as part of the 50 hostages.
Margulies has been outspoken in her support for Israelis after the October 7 attack from the very beginning. “The Good Wife” and “The Morning Show” star has chided the silence she’s seen from some of her non-Jewish colleagues, and even wrote about it in a recent op-ed in USA Today, in which she called out, with much love, the fact that many Americans are blind to the Jewish experience.
She wrote about being shocked at how many of her friends didn’t reach out after the October 7 attack, when her Jewish friends were all grieving. She was also shocked at a reading she recently did, to see so many of those non-Jewish friends show up and to “see that no one seemed to be carrying the weight of what took place in Israel: a weight that is hanging heavily on every Jewish person I know.”