Rabbi Meir Hecht of Evanston Chabad in Illinois says he and his congregation will celebrate the safe return of Judith and Natalie Raanan who were released Friday from captivity in Gaza.
At a press conference in front of his home in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Rabbi Meir Hecht said he feels like God has answered his community’s prayers.
“Thank you, G-d” — Hecht says those will likely be his first words to Judith and Natalie Raanan.
The mother and daughter from Evanston, Illinois, had been staying at a kibbutz in Israel called Nahal Oz when Hamas terrorists stormed the area.
Rabbi Hecht says his congregation outside Chicago has been praying for the two and other hostages Hamas kidnapped from Israel.
“Judith and Natalie are the kindest, most giving, sharing people,” Hecht said. “Judith was always the first person to be there for the community, for any person in need. And the knowledge that they are coming back home is just so heartwarming and overwhelming.”
Hecht says a series of vigils are planned. Over Shabbos, he and his congregation will be expressing gratitude to God for their release. The community is still praying for those still being held hostage by the terror group.