Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Times Square Billboard Commemorating Slain Israeli Teens Prompts Outpouring of Support (PHOTO)

July 12, 2014 11:39 pm 0 comments

A Times Square billboard in honor of the murdered Israeli teens. Photo Credit: Clear Channel.

The rabbi of an Upper West Side synagogue, which funded a billboard in the heart of Times Square in memory of three murdered Israeli teens, said publicity from the sign has prompted a flood of support for the families of the youths.

“Obviously we’re all davening (praying)… but we wanted to do something concrete and this kind of gave people a little bit of something that they can feel like they are making some sort of impact… and I think it did serve a purpose that was positive,” Rabbi Dovid Cohen from Young Israel of the West Side told The Algemeiner recently.

The Times Square sign shows the images of Naftali Frankel, 16, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, who were kidnapped on June 12 while hitchhiking home from school and subsequently murdered. Their bodies were found after an 18-day frantic search.

Under their pictures the banner reads: “We join the families and all of Israel in mourning the tragic loss of these innocent boys.”

The billboard, which will be up for another two weeks, appears for 15 seconds at the 7-minute mark and the 51-minute mark of every hour.

Cohen would not say how much he paid for the billboard but said renting a month’s worth of space in Times Square, for 30 seconds every hour, typically costs $15,000. He credited the idea to one of his congregants, Evan Hakalir, and said that since going up, the sign has sparked only positive interest.

Cohen said he believes his recent invitation to lead an opening prayer in the House of Representatives was a direct result of the publicity garnered by the billboard. He added that his synagogue has become somewhat of a “central point” for others who want to act in memory of the murdered teens.

“I didn’t hear anything negative from anybody, only positive. Only like ‘amazing idea,’ ‘great idea,’ ‘this is so great,’ ‘how else can we get involved,’  ‘what else can we do?'” Cohen said. “There was a woman who wanted to take out an ad in The Wall Street Journal, like a full page ad, [and] she called us for consult. It motivated people… We all wanna do something.'”

The synagogue originally funded the sign to call for the safe return of the missing boys after they were abducted but once their bodies were found on June 30, the synagogue changed the message displayed to honor the memory of the teens.

“I know for a fact that one of the families themselves, the Frankel family, was informed about the billboard and got a tremendous amount of strength from it and encouraged us and thanked us,” Cohen said.

“People reached out to me from all over the world, literally, the day that it went up,” he added. “The former Governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle…we got an email from her in Hawaii that said how she heard about this in Hawaii and she was praising our efforts.”

The Young Israel also raised $30,000 from congregants and private donors that it later donated to the Koby Mandell Foundation, created in memory of the 13-year-old Jewish boy who was murdered by terrorists while hiking near his home in Israel. The foundation provides support to those who have lost relatives to terrorism. The synagogue hopes to support one of the siblings of the murdered Israeli teens.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →