In front of his residence in Evanston, a Chicago suburb, Chabad Rabbi Meir Hecht expressed his belief that the prayers of his community have been answered.
He anticipates that his initial words to Judith and Natalie Raanan will be a heartfelt “Thank you, G-d.”
The mother-daughter duo, residents of Evanston, Illinois, were visiting an Israeli kibbutz named Nahal Oz on the border of Gaza when it was infiltrated by Hamas terrorists on Simchas Torah.
Rabbi Hecht shared that the Evanston Chabad House had been fervently praying for the safe return of Judith, Natalie, and 200 more individuals who were taken captive by Hamas from Israel.
Speaking to the media, he described Judith and Natalie as exceptionally kind, generous individuals. Judith, he noted, was consistently the first to extend her support to anyone in need within the community.
Rabbi Hecht mentioned that a series of vigils have been planned. News of their release on Friday helped usher in a more hopeful Shabbos for Evanston. They will continue to pray for those who are still held captive.
Rabbi Hecht interviewed before their release
“The fact that someone who lives next door to us, and is a part of our community, is a hostage in Israel makes the devastation and the pain and the grief that all Jews around the world are feeling that much more real,” Rabbi Meir Hecht tells me tonight. pic.twitter.com/tgRjIri2oc
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 17, 2023