Temple Beth Am of Merrick and Bellmore began showing a display of over 240 pairs of shoes to represent Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza on Friday, Nov. 17.
The display, formed in the Star of David, created a visual representation of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7, marking the beginning of a war between the State of Israel and the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza strip in the Middle East. Each pair of shoes was accompanied by a piece of paper with the name and picture of the victim, and a candle.
Nicole Miller, co-president of Temple Beth Am, told the Herald that each item was chosen to represent a part of Jewish life. The tree represents the tree of life, the shoes represent the horrors of the Holocaust and the candles represent the Jewish outlook of looking for the good and light in the world.
Miller also said each pair of shoes would be donated when the display is dissembled.
On Nov. 26, the temple posted on Facebook “We have to disassemble our Star of David display, but we still have a powerful reminder of the hostages take on Oct. 7.”
Some of the posters with each face of a hostage are now marked with a green sticker, because in a deal between Israel and Hamas, a small fraction of those taken were released in phases beginning on Nov. 23
“Thank you to all who donated shoes,” the post further said. “we asked for 240 pairs — we received hundreds more. All shows have donated to a food pantry in Brooklyn and will be given to our less fortunate neighbors.”
The remaining display can be found in the front of Temple Beth Am, located at 2377 Merrick Ave, Merrick.