A Ray of Hope in the Dark

On Nov. 19 and 20, survivors of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and their family members joined religious leaders at the Beverly Hills Towers building at the corner of Canon Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard as part of a demonstration calling for the release of 240 Israeli hostages in Gaza. Dubbed “A Ray of Hope for Every Hostage,” the demonstration featured 240 lights beaming into the sky, each representing one of the captives, and included a musical performance and speeches demanding the hostage’s release.

Beverly Hills City Councilmember Dr. Sharona Nazarian addressed the crowd, which stood across the street waving Israeli flags and cheering, urging residents to contact their representatives and demand they call for the hostages to be released.

“It’s been 45 days since the brutal and barbaric slaughter of over 1400 innocent civilians,” and the capture of Israeli hostages, Nazarian said. “Call your elected officials and demand they bring the hostages back now.”

Beverly Hills Jewish Community Synagogue Rabbi Yossi Cunin told the Courier that the light installation provides hope for the hostages’ safe return.

“For all we know [the captives] are in a tunnel somewhere dark, where there’s no light,” Cunin said. “But yet we’re here putting out a light for them, letting them know that they may be in a dark place, but their light will be shining bright up in the sky. They will not be forgotten by us as captives. We will demand a return. We will demand that their light comes back to us and shines bright.”

Nechema Born, 6, and her sister Leah, 9, at the ‘Ray of Hope’ display
Photo by Lisa Friedman Bloch

Organizer Rachel Kahn Evenhaim, a kindergarten teacher originally from Miami, has close ties to Israel and previously served in the Israel Defense Forces. After the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, she sprang into action to support her Israeli community, raising funds and sending supplies overseas.

With this event, inspired by a similar demonstration in Jerusalem, Evenhaim wanted to shed light on the people still suffering in captivity.

“We wanted to … reinforce the light,” Evenhaim said. “We’re very hopeful that our hostages will come home and this is a great example of that. We’re here to celebrate their life and their existence and bringing them home.”