Cookbook for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot raises awareness about the plight of hostages still being held in Gaza


In honor of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which celebrates when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, the Hostage and Missing Families Forum, a volunteer organization founded by relatives of those kidnapped in Gaza, has dedicated a book of cuisine the group produced called “Shavuot of Longing.”

Shavuot this year takes place beginning the afternoon of Tuesday, June 11, 2024 and runs through Thursday, June 13, 2024.

The introduction to “Shavuot of Longing” expresses the pain that families are enduring surrounding another holiday without their loved ones.

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“Shavuot in Hebrew means 'weeks,' but we have been yearning endlessly for his return for many months,” the group says. “How we long for the day when we can prepare with them the recipes found in the book.”

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum was created less than 24 hours after the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel, according to the group's website. Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 people in the attacks, and approximately 125 of the 252 kidnapped Israelis and foreigners remain hostages in Gaza, multiple sources report.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum was created less than 24 hours after the October 7, 2023 Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

During Shavuot, homes and synagogues are decorated with flowers.

It is a holiday custom to stay up all night to study the Torah, especially the Book of Ruth, and read the Ten Commandments in the morning.

None of the recipes contain meat.

Lir Alter, a forum volunteer and cookbook creator, said another custom on Shavuot is eating foods made with dairy.

She told Fox News Digital that's why the cookbook contains “a lot of cheesecakes and quiche…and lasagna.” [It’s] connected with the holiday of Shavuot, with dairy products and with the family nature of the holiday.

None of the recipes contain meat, and many are Middle Eastern, such as Negev tomato and pepper soup and Moroccan cookies.

"Savuot of longing" cookbook cover

“Savuot of Longing: Their Recipes on Our Table,” a new cookbook, contains 75 recipes in 180 pages: “from the pastries they start their mornings with to the warm winter soup and the dessert that sweetens their hearts,” the group said. says of those who remain missing and held captive against their will. (Hostage and Missing Families Forum)

Vegan dishes include salads, vegetables, fruits and tahini, plus hummus and baba ganoush.

In total, the book contains 75 recipes on 180 pages: “from the pastries with which they start their mornings to the warm winter soup and the dessert that sweetens their hearts,” the group says.

'Food is very significant'

Alter told Fox News Digital: “When you talk to Jewish people, food is a very significant part of our daily lives. We meet every Friday. [for Shabbat dinner]and we get together every holiday… We wanted to keep the hostages in our hearts by thinking about them in a positive way, and we feel like food is a positive way to show that.”

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The cookbook begins with an optimistic quote from freed hostage Luis Har, 71, who expressed hope to soon cook with the hostages.

Har, a grandfather of 10, was rescued from Gaza with his brother-in-law by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on February 12, 2024, after spending 129 days in captivity, according to multiple sources.

Profile of Luis Har

Luis Har, 71, expressed hope that he would soon be able to cook with the hostages. Har, a grandfather of 10, was rescued from Gaza with his brother-in-law by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on February 12, 2024, after spending 129 days in captivity. (Luis Har)

A video shows Har being warmly welcomed by people at an Israeli market who are elated to see him again. One asked him: “When are you going to make pizzas again?”

“Grandpa Luis' Pizza” is the first recipe that appears in the “Shavuot of Longing” Cook Book.

Alter told Fox News Digital that the group wanted the book to be hopeful. “When he came back, [they] “We're all going to come back and have a great party!”

The cookbook was printed at Be'eri Printers, a large printing press on Kibbutz Be'eri, just three miles from Gaza.

the cookbook It was printed at Be'eri Printers, a large printing press in Kibbutz Be'eri, just three miles from Gaza and known as Israel's “Ground Zero.”

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Nearly one in 10 of its more than 1,000 residents were killed by Hamas terrorists and at least 26 were kidnapped, according to multiple reports. Despite the tragedy and destruction, Be'eri Printers reopened just 10 days after Oct. 7, Alter said.

Yossi Sharabi, 53, along with his brother, Eli, 55, are residents of Kibbutz Be'eri who were kidnapped during those attacks, according to reports. Just over three months later, Yossi Sharabi was probably killed accidentally during an IDF airstrike in Gaza.

Yossi, Eli, Sharon Sharabi

The Sharabi brothers (Yossi, Eli and Sharon) are honored in the new cookbook. Yossi Sharabi and Eli Sharabi are described as devoted family men in the Cook Book. Recipes for her favorite dishes, Ma'akuda, Moroccan-style potato pancakes and spicy fish balls are presented. (Yossi, Eli and Sharon Sharabi)

The Facebook page for the Genesis Prize, an award celebrating Jewish achievement, shows a photo of the men's brother, Sharon Sharabi, holding signs of the two.

The caption next to it reads: “My brother Yossi was killed in captivity. My brother Eli, who is still captive, does not even know that his wife and two daughters were killed on October 7. We have already lost four members of our family … We refuse to bring a fifth coffin.”

Yossi Sharabi and Eli Sharabi are described as devoted family men in the Cook Book.

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Recipes for her favorite dishes, Ma'akuda, Moroccan-style potato pancakes and spicy fish balls are presented.

'The food is at home'

Yossi Sharabi's wife, Nira, told Fox News Digital via text message: “Food in the Sharabi house has always been and always will be a family gathering point…Food is home, and the Home is in the hearts of Yossi and Eli.

Spicy fish balls

Shown here are spicy fish balls as they appear in the new cookbook, “Shavuot of Longing.” (Eli Sharabi)

Carmel Gat, 40, an occupational therapist who was staying with her parents, was also abducted from Kibbutz Be'eri.

His cousin, Gil Dickman, told Fox News Digital how Gat's father hid in the bathroom and, through a crack in the window, watched helplessly as the terrorists took his daughter, son, daughter-in-law and his grandson from his house.

The terrorists shot and killed Gat's mother a few minutes after she was kidnapped, Dickman said.

Gat's favorite dessert, the chocolate log, has a special meaning for his family.

Gat's relatives who were kidnapped have survived and now the family anxiously awaits his return. Dickman said he has hope because two hostages who were freed on the 50th day of the war reported that Gat was helping them do exercises to stay in shape.

“She was kind of a guardian angel to them,” Dickman told Fox News Digital.

Gat's favorite dessert, the chocolate log, has special meaning to his family because his grandfather used to make it before he died in 2018, Dickman said.

chocolate log

The chocolate log has special meaning to Carmel Gat's family because her grandfather used to make it before he died in 2018. (Carmel Gat)

He said he hopes Gat somehow finds out that people are baking this recipe.

“To me, that's a way to send her the message that we're still fighting for her, we still remember her,” he said.

He said that because Hamas does not allow the Red Cross to visit the hostages, they know nothing about Gat's condition at this time.

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“We fear the worst. We fear that her life is at risk and that her soul is at risk while she is there… Relatives of women who may become pregnant and men who may be abused truly cry for the release of their loved ones.”

And he added: “The world has completely forgotten about October 7. We have to remind them that there are still babies, old people, women and men held by a terrorist organization. That is a crime against humanity that is being committed right now, a Just a few miles from us, which is amazing.”

'Prepared for every holiday'

Liri Albag, 19, another hostage, was kidnapped along with four other teenage female soldiers from the Nahal Oz military base, according to The Jerusalem Post (66 soldiers were killed by Hamas terrorists at the base, according to other reports).

Albag's mother, Shira, described her daughter via text message to Fox News Digital as “full of joy, with an undulating laugh and always a smile on her face.”

She said her daughter is sociable, self-confident and optimistic, and that she dreamed of studying design.

Shlomi Ziv Rose Cookies

“Shavuot of Longing,” a new cookbook, includes recipes for Shlomi Ziv's favorite dessert: rose cookies. (Shlomi Ziv)

Shira said her daughter loved celebrating the holidays and setting the Christmas table at home. Her recipe dedicated to her is “a recipe that Grandma Nira makes sure to make every holiday and Lira loves it.”

Itay Shenberger, a volunteer with the Missing Families and Hostages Forum and creator of “Shavuot of Longing,” said the book's call to action is for people to choose a recipe and dedicate it to the hostages on social media to raise awareness. about them.

He said he anticipates that “during Shavuot, there will be thousands and thousands of videos all over Facebook and Instagram…recipes dedicated to the hostages.”

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On June 8, in the largest hostage recovery operation since the war began, the IDF safely rescued four hostages being held captive in Gaza: Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Shlomi Ziv, 41, and Andrey Kozlov, 27, as Fox News Digital previously reported.

The book's call to action is for people to choose a recipe and dedicate it to the hostages on social media to raise awareness.

Ziv had been working security at the music festival, where the daughter of the nurse who treated him at Sheba Medical Center was murdered. He studied interior design and in “Shavuot of Longing” is described as “the funniest guy” and devoted to his family.

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“Shavuot of Longing” includes recipes for Ziv's favorite dessert, rose cookies, as well as the orange cake that Almog Meir Jan loves.

“Shavuot of Longing” can be purchased in the US, Canada, Israel, Australia and the UK. All proceeds are donations to the Hostage and Missing Families Forum.

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