CLEVELAND (WJW) – There was a sea of blue and white flags at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland Monday night as Northeast Ohio’s Jewish community held a vigil for the hostages being held by Hamas.

“We believe there were around 229 hostages who were abducted from their homes and brought into Gaza. We know many are injured,” said Erika Rudin-Luria, president of the Jewish Federation
of Cleveland.

Rudin-Luria is leaving for Israel Tuesday morning.

“I’m meeting up with families of individuals who are being held hostage. One message that has come across is that they are counting on us,” said Rudin-Luria.

Pictures of the missing were plastered on posters. There were prayers and songs in honor of the lives lost after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

“Cleveland has a sister city in Israel and we do know that there are many who are confirmed killed, some are still missing,” said Mark Holtz, chair of overseas connections.

“We want to put pressure on all those who have influence to bring them home,” said Rudin-Luria.

Security was also tight at the vigil as the regional SWAT team along with various police departments were on hand. Organizers said they were on site in an abundance of caution.