‘Adopt a Hostage’ participant celebrates as adopted hostage returned home

Only two weeks after Britain’s Board of Deputies launched its ‘Adopt a Hostage’ campaign, a Birmingham-based rabbi celebrated as news of his adoptees’ release came to light on Sunday night.

The campaign, which allowed synagogues and organizations across the United Kingdom to symbolically ‘adopt’ one of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, connected the rabbi with Fernando Marman. 

A total of 64 organizations have signed up to ‘Adopt a Hostage.’

Marman, 60, had been rescued in an IDF operation in Rafah on Sunday night. Marman, and 70-year-old fellow rescued hostage Luis Har, were seen by medical professionals at Sheba Medical Center on Monday morning and were categorized as being in good health.

The rabbi said in response to the rescue, according to the Board of Deputies,  “We are feeling so excited. We cannot imagine what his family must be feeling.”

The two hostages rescued from Rafah in the Gaza Strip, February 12, 2024 (credit: MAARIV)

A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies said: “We are overjoyed that two of the hostages who were cruelly taken more than four months ago by Hamas terrorists have been rescued. We hope and pray that the rest of those taken captive will be returned safe and sound. In the meantime, we thank all the Synagogues and Jewish organizations who have joined our ‘Adopt a Hostage’ initiative and encourage others to sign up.”

he moment the rescued hostages are reunited with their loved ones after their dramatic rescue from Hamas captivity by Israeli special forces. (Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

The traumatic ordeal of the Marman family

On the day of the Hamas attack on October 7, Clara Marman, 63, was kidnapped from her home in Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, which is located near Gaza. Along with her, Gabriela Leimberg, brother Fernando, and daughter Mia were also kidnapped.

On November 28, in the fifth round of the prisoner exchange, Gabriela, Mia, and Clara were released while Fernando and Luis remained in Hamas captivity. One of the memorable photos from their release from captivity was of 17-year-old Mia with her beloved dog, Bella.

Since release from captivity, the Leimberg-Marman family has been fighting alongside the families of the kidnapped individuals for the return of all the hostages from Hamas captivity. 

“We said goodbye to Luis and Fernando before we came here. We said goodbye, with a hug, ‘We’ll meet in two or three days, ‘ and we said, ‘See you soon. ‘ So it wasn’t dramatic on the outside, but it was very, very difficult for us,”  Clara Marman recounted in the days following her release from captivity. “To know that another day and another goes by and they have no idea what is happening in the country, like I didn’t. I was received back in Israel with a lot of support, but they don’t know if there are even any efforts to bring them back or if they have been forgotten. My biggest concern is that they will be mentally broken.”

Extending an invitation to the hostages

After the hostages had had time to heal from their experience, the Board of Deputies said they would extend an invitation for them to visit the organizations that adopted them and spend Shabbat within those communities.

Those wishing to join the adoption campaign can contact [email protected]