Advertisement

Hundreds ‘from Sussex to Jerusalem’ join shofar chorus in call to free hostages

Hundreds ‘from Sussex to Jerusalem’ join shofar chorus in call to free hostages

Hundreds of Jewish people and supporters from “Sussex to Jerusalem” have joined to blow shofars and whistles in a call to free Israeli hostages.

One group met at St John’s Wood Synagogue in London on Sunday – led by TV presenter Vanessa Feltz and actress Dame Maureen Lipman.

It was said to be the world’s largest ram horn trumpet chorus.

They were there to show solidarity with the more than 100 hostages held in Gaza.

The chorus lasted for 1.55 minutes, marking the 155 days they will have been in captivity.

Marcel Knobil, who organised the chorus, said the shofars and whistles were blown from “Sussex to Jerusalem and from New York to the beaches of Thailand”.

He said: “The shofar is such a significant icon.

“It’s said to symbolise a number of things, some equate it with a sound of crying mothers and how appropriate that is to today’s event, especially being Mother’s Day.

Vanessa Feltz speaking before people blew shofars and whistles in Abbey Road, London.
Vanessa Feltz speaking before people blew shofars and whistles in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

“It’s also said to represent hope and we are all bursting with hope for the release of the hostages.

“Many of us equate its wailing sound as a wake-up call. Waking us to address ourselves internally and stirring us to mend our way.”

Mr Knobil added that he has spent time with families of hostages and said they are in “total shock”.

He said: “They are living in an unreal world. To see this terror and torment to be lifted from all these family members would be just a dream for me and the world Jewish community.”

Feltz said they were all there to trumpet “this humanitarian urgent message – bring them home now”.

Maureen Lipman speaking before people blew shofars and whistles in Abbey Road, London.
Dame Maureen Lipman was among those who took part (Victoria Jones/PA)

She said: “Today, our hearts are joined to the hearts and the souls of the mothers of the hostages, just imagine being there, it’s just unbearable to think about it even one day.

“Imagine it, the mothers of the hostages who’ve been deprived their precious children now for 155 days.

“As we celebrate Mother’s Day with our beloved children, our beloved grandchildren, these mothers are in agonising torment.”

Dame Maureen said: “I’m a mother, I’m an actor, I’m an aunt, I’m a grandmother, and since October 7 I’m a hostage like every other Jew in the world.

“A hostage who shares that pain, that fear, that someone is coming, that childhood fear made real.

People blowing shofars and whistles in Abbey Road, London. Israel-Hamas conflict
People blowing shofars and whistles in Abbey Road (Victoria Jones/PA)

“I want to urge you to write this on your doorposts and tell your children we have to fight back.”

She called for people to “fight back professionally” against “the opposition”, who she described as “campus twits” and “marching fools, who don’t know which river or which sea they’re talking about”.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Dame Maureen became emotional as she said “right will prevail” if the hostages were released, adding: “Except how many of those girls, how many of those grandmothers, are ever going to face the beauty of life again?”

Conservative MP Mike Freer, for Finchley & Golders Green, spoke before the chorus and said “as a non-Jew, to the Jewish community, you have friends, you are not alone”.

He said: “When we see mob rule on the streets of London, remember there are friends in Parliament that are seeking to curtail the hysteria that we see.”

It comes after the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on October 7 in which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 kidnapped before Israel retaliated with months of attacks on the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding thousands.