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Hundreds Fly From Israel to Pray for Hostages at the Rebbe’s Grave in Queens

The images of two little girls hung around Orna Ben Yaakov’s neck. They were Raz and Aviv Katz Asher, ages 4 and 2, missing since Oct. 7 when they were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Israel.

“My granddaughters,” Ms. Ben Yaakov said.

On Monday night, she was one of roughly 300 relatives and supporters of Israelis still held captive after the terrorist attack in Israel last month, brought to New York City by Chabad Lubavitch, a Hasidic Jewish group based in Brooklyn. The trip was partly to draw attention to the plight of the Israelis who are among about 240 hostages, but it was also an act of faith: The supporters came straight from the airport to the Queens gravesite of the Lubavitcher’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, known as the Rebbe, who some Jews believe can take their prayers directly to God.

“I am asking of the Rebbe that he can keep them alive, and take them home, everybody — and my daughter,” said Albert Ariev, 46. Around his neck was a picture of his 19-year-old daughter Karina, a soldier who he said was taken from a military base in southern Israel.

Family members and supporters arrived at the airport and went straight to Queens. Afterward, they would move on to Washington, D.C., to participate in a march.Credit…Mark Abramson for The New York Times

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