Shabbat table with 242 empty chairs an overwhelming symbol outside Westchester Courthouse

It’s been 28 days since the 242 Israelis were taken hostage by Hamas.

Emily Young

Nov 3, 2023, 10:23 PM

Updated 252 days ago

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Empty chairs – and empty hearts.
A Shabbat table set for 242 people was outside the Westchester County Courthouse all day on Friday. It’s been 28 days since the 242 Israelis were taken hostage by Hamas. The fourth Shabbat away from their families, another Shabbat not knowing if they're OK.
"Those people will not be able to spend Shabbat with their families, will not be able to have the Shabbat dinner with them, so this is to symbolize their absence," said Shachar Liran Hanan from the Jewish Agency.
"This tells a story that is sad and tragic and makes it real to us," said Rachel Friedman, who happened upon the installation.
The sheer number of chairs was overwhelming to some.
"It's devastating, it really brings it home, it's something we've lived with for a month, " said Bob Friedman.
"We've had so many people coming by asking questions, just stopping, crying with us, and showing their support," said Hanan.
People like Lenore Zach.
"I just stumbled across these tables, I didn't know what was happening. I see Hallah (bread) i see the grape juice and I was like this is the table for the hostages. And instantly I just started crying."
"This is a beautiful installation of real people in front of us," said Rachel Friedman.


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