How can we remember the hostages in Israel and show our solidarity? A Blue Ribbon campaign, conceived by Rabbi Leslie Gordon of Temple Aliyah in Needham, is leading the charge using a time-honored American tradition. Wearing a yellow ribbon or tying one around a tree has been a way to recognize absent loved ones since the 1800s. It inspired the 1973 song by Tony Orlando and Dawn (“Tie a Yellow Ribbon“), which was played frequently during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979-81 when Iran held 52 American hostages for 444 days. The Blue Ribbon campaign uses the color blue, from Israel’s flag, to remind us of another group of hostages.
Now, in October 2023, Hamas is holding over 200 hostages, many of them babies, children, and the very elderly. These hostages come from all over, including the United States, Argentina, Germany, France, Russia, and Thailand. In a country the size of Israel, 200 hostages equate to approximately 8,000 hostages in the U.S. Its trauma and loss touch every corner of this small country.
What can people do to raise awareness and demonstrate that, at the most grassroots level, we stand united for the hostages’ release?
The Blue Ribbon campaign team, comprising dozens of volunteers and more than 40 participating organizations, and counting, asks that we tie a blue ribbon around our trees, with the hope that, like the famed yellow ribbon of ‘79, it will be a visible sign of solidarity. When organizers conceived of this idea, they needed to consider where to procure a sizable amount of blue ribbon that would be strong enough to endure the elements, visible in both light and dark, and affordable.
Enter Herman Goldberger, CEO of Tiger Industries, who manufactures blue ribbons for the construction industry. When Shira Goodman, immediate past chair of the CJP Board of Directors, discovered his company, she reached out, and Goldberger was only too happy to do his part. Goldberger has donated enough ribbon for 36,000 trees. As he sees it, “The unity we feel is something special. A person like myself, being Chassidic from Monroe, New York, was eager to do anything I could to help the hostages. Something we have manufactured for the last 15 years has a new and important purpose. I am proud we stand together.”
Goodman is proud, too.
“In a very short period of time, the team conceived of an idea, we found Herman to enable it, and now we are rolling it out. I am proud we are standing united.”
The Blue Ribbon team has a very simple message: #BringThemHome
As Goodman sees it, “Let’s present a visual image that reminds us of the trauma and loss in this hostage crisis. The blue ribbon will be our sign that we will not rest until every hostage is returned home. ”
Let the world know we care and are watching. We stand united.
How to participate:
- Wrap a tree(s) in front of your house with 2″- to 3″-wide polyester, vinyl or synthetic ribbon (for maximum visual impact and longevity), as close to the street as possible (do not put ribbons on public property or in public spaces).
- Take a picture with the ribbon and tree in the center, including yourself if you choose.
- Post the picture on social media with the hashtag #BringThemHome.
- Invite friends and neighbors to participate.
Visit blueribbons.life to learn more.