Conservative movement launches Shalit campaign


(JTA) — The Conservative movement has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s youth and young adult services department has begun a Yellow Balloon campaign to mark the fourth anniversary of Shalit’s captivity. Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid on June 25, 2006 and reportedly is being held by the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

Participants can e-mail virtual yellow balloons that say “Bring Gilad Home” and draw attention to the campaign over Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.  The campaign calls for the display of real yellow balloons in front of synagogues, affiliated organizations and private residences during the week of June 21 to show solidarity with Shalit.

The campaign urges people to write to their elected officials asking them to maintain pressure on the international community to free Shalit, and to write to his parents expressing support.

United Synagogue also is providing materials for information tables in synagogues and other settings, and is calling on people to “reserve a seat for Gilad” at synagogue on June 26, to recite a special prayer written by the Masorti movement — the Conservative movement in Israel — and to study the Jewish mandate to redeem captives.

 “We know that it is only if the world is reminded of his plight that he stands any chance of being freed,” said Richard Moline, United Synagogue’s youth and young adult services director.

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