Jewish Prayers to Say for the Release of Hostages

As we pray, we await the return of all the hostages taken by Hamas.

Ever since October 7, so many Jewish people, regardless of our level of religious observance, have been turning to Jewish rituals, like prayer, to cope with our feelings of grief, anger and anxiety. We’ve heard from many people who have turned to prayers like Oseh Shalom and Lo Yisa Goy for peace, Mourner’s Kaddish for those who have died and Modeh Ani for gratitude.

We’ve also been turning to two lesser-known Jewish prayers for the 240-some Israelis and foreign nationals who were taken captive by Hamas.

The first is called Acheinu. “At its core, the prayer is a request for God to have mercy on captives and free them, taking them from ‘narrowness to expanse, and from darkness to light, and from oppression to redemption,'” Rabbi Elie Kaunfer wrote for My Jewish Learning. He adds, “The prayer calls us to attention, saying: We need to focus on this issue. The request is a simple one: God, please bring home the captives. Just as our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt, may they journey from darkness to light — right now.”

It reads in Hebrew transliteration:

Acheinu kol beit yisrael, han’nutunim b’tzara uvashivyah, haomdim bein bayam uvein bayabasha. Hamakom Y’racheim Aleihem v’yotziem mitzra lirvacha um’afaila l’orah umishiabud lig’ulah, hashta ba’agala uvizman kariv.V’nomar: Amen

And in English:

Our family, the whole house of Israel, who are in distress, or in captivity — who stand either in the sea or on dry land — may the Omnipresent have mercy on them and take them out from narrowness to expanse, and from darkness to light, and from oppression to redemption, now, swiftly, and soon!

The other is a prayer that specifically thanks God for freeing hostages. And, thankfully, we were able to start saying it on November 24 when Hamas began releasing some hostages in exchange for a ceasefire and the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Coming from the daily morning liturgy, the prayer reads in Hebrew:

Baruch atah Adonai, Elohainu melech haolam, matir asurim.

The prayer reads in English:

Blessed are You Adonai, Lord our God, King of the universe, who frees the captive.

While we are still waiting, and praying, for the release of all hostages, below are the names of the hostages who have thus far been released by Hamas. (It includes those who were released for humanitarian reasons before the ceasefire began as well as Thai nationals.) We will continue to update this list as more are returned.

Nurit Yitzhak, 79

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85

Natalie Raanan, 59

Judith Raanan, 18

Yaffa Adar, 85

Chana Peri, 79

Margalit Mozes, 77

Ruth Mundar, 78

Keren Mundar, 54

Ohad Mundar, 9

Chana Katzir, 76

Adina Moshe, 72

Danielle Aloni, 45

Emilia Aloni, 5

Doron Katz-Asher, 34

Rav Asher, 4

Aviv Asher, 2

Hila Rotem Shoshani, 12

Emily Hand, 9

Shira Weiss, 53

Noga Weiss, 18

Alma Or, 13

Noam Or, 17

Maya Regev Jirbi, 21

Sharon Avigdor, 53

Noam Avigdor, 12

Adi Shoham, 38

Neve Shoham, 8

Yael Shoham, 3

Shoshana Haran, 67

Uthai Sangnuan

Uthai Thunsri

Buddee Saengboon

Bancha Kongmanee

Wichai Kalapat, 28

Withoon Phumee, 33

Mongkhol Phajuabboon

Boonthom Phankhong

Santi Boonphrom

Natthawaree Moonkan

Gelienor (Jimmy) Pacheco, 37

Nattaporn Onkaew

Komkrit Chombua

Anucha Angkaew

Manee Jirachart

Abigail Mor Idan, 4

Hagar Brodutch, 40

Ofri Brodutch, 10

Yuval Brodutch, 8

Uriyah Brodutch, 4

Dafna Elyakim, 15

Ela Elyakim, 8

Chen Almog-Goldstein, 48

Agam Almog-Goldstein, 17

Gal Almog-Goldstein, 11

Tal Almog-Goldstein, 9

Aviva Siegel, 62

Alma Avraham, 84

Roni Krivoi, 25

Phonsawan Pinakalo

Surin Kesungnoen

Wichian Temthon

Sharon Cunio, 34

Emma and Yuli Cunio, 3

Sahar Kalderon, 16

Erez Kalderon, 12

Or Yaakov, 16

Yagil Yaakov, 13

Karina Engel-Bart, 53

Mika Engel, 18

Yuval Engel, 11

Eitan Yahalomi, 12

Pattanayut Tonsakree

Owat Suriyasri, 40

Gabriela Leimberg, 59

Mia Leimberg, 17

Rimon Kirsht, 36

Clara Merman, 63

Ofelia Roitman, 77

Ditza Heiman, 84 (Grandmother of Hey Alma contributor Cliel Shdaimah)

Tamar Metzger, 78

Noralin Babadilla

Ada Sagi, 75

Meirav Tal, 53

Paiboon Rattanin

Kong Saelao

Juckapan Sikena

Chalermchai Sangkaew

Raya Rotem, 54

Raz Ben Ami, 55

Yarden Roman-Gat, 36

Liat Beinin, 49

Moran Stella Yanai, 40

Liam Or, 18

Itai Regev, 18

Ofir Engel, 18

Amit Shani, 16

Gali Tarshansky, 13

Yelena Trupanov, 50

Irene Tati, 77

Amit Soussana, 40

Mia Shem, 21

Fernando Merman, 60

Louis Har, 70

Ilana Gritzewsky, 30

Aisha Zyadna, 16

Bilal Zyadna, 18

Nili Margalit, 41

Shani Goren, 29

Sapir Cohen, 29

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