Kingston man whose relatives died at hands of Hamas thanks the community for their support
A Kingston man whose sister- and brother-in-law died after being taken hostage by Hamas thanks the community for their support.
In a grainy Oct. 7 video shared worldwide, relatives of Kingston resident Maurice Shnaider appear to be taken hostage from Kibbutz Nir Oz by members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Shnaider's sister and brother-in-law, Margit and Yosi Silverman, were later killed and were buried in Israel on Monday, according to rabbis at Shnaider's synagogue.
The Silverman's daughter, her husband and their two children -- ages 4 years old and 9 months old were also abducted Oct. 7.
The latest information available to News 12 indicates they are alive.
Rabbis AB Itkin and Yitzhak Hecht of Chabad of Ulster County , where Shnaider worships, have been trying to help Shnaider and other congregants through the adversity.
"This is something we never dreamed of happening," Rabbi Itkin said as he pulled the synagogue's 'Mitzvah Bus' out of the Chabad's parking lot in Kingston.
The rabbis have spent extra time driving around the county in the Mitzvah Bus, collecting donations and giving lessons about Jewish culture and religion.
They are asking congregants to stay optimistic, and even smile from time to time.
"You have just pure, pure evil," Rabbi Itkin said. "We're doing our part to counter it to have light. Instead of cursing darkness, you light a candle, and all of a sudden, the darkness disappears."
"Our immediate reaction was, 'We gotta do more good,'" Rabbi Hecht said.
He believes a strong spirit and positive energy will eventually nudge everyone involved in the decades-long conflict toward kindness.
"Every person that we run into, we try to be a good influence on them. Hopefully they're a good influence on us," he said. "This way, person by person, we change the world for good."
Maurice Shnaider is expected to make a public statement on the tragedy at 9:15 a.m. Thursday.