Advocating for Evan Gershkovich & Elizabeth Tsurkov

Advocating for Evan Gershkovich & Elizabeth Tsurkov

I have often written about how critical building community is for our collective future. It binds us together and enables us to overcome challenges in Greater Washington, in Israel, and around the world. One of the responsibilities of a community is to care for and support the many individuals who are part of it. We do this locally and globally together with our many partner organizations. There are also times when we must elevate specific issues and support individual people directly.

Today, the moment calls on us to stand up for Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been held in Russia since March 29th for over 100 days, and researcher and journalist Elizabeth Tsurkov, whom the Israeli government has confirmed was kidnapped while conducting research in Iraq by an Iran-affiliated Shiite militia.

Evan Gershkovich, The Jewish Federations of North America

Evan and Elizabeth, both innocent civilians and members of the Jewish community, have provided readers and colleagues with important information through their investigative work and reporting, delivering both criticism and defense of the actions of governments around the world.

Their kidnappings and detentions as they carried out their vital, informative work represent a cynical negotiation tactic for both Russia and Iran, and a danger to the Jewish community, Israel, America, and freedom of the press.

Elizabeth Tsurkov, via @Elizrael on Twitter

Since April, we have joined Federations across North America in advocating for Evan’s release, working behind the scenes with our partners at The Jewish Federations of North America. You can read their May letter to Secretary of State Blinken here.

As Evan’s and Elizabeth’s imprisonment continues, I urge you to join us in remembering their plight and advocating on their behalf. You can support Federation’s and national and international organizations’ efforts to assist in Evan’s release by writing a message to Evan and his family and using social media to spread awareness to ensure these stories, and Evan’s and Elizabeth’s names, remain in the forefront of American and global consciousness.

Supporting those in need is not just focused on the aggregate. We must also prioritize the specific individuals, like Evan and Elizabeth, who need our care, attention, and support. We are obligated to stand up for injustice. And at this moment, we must speak out – together – to help these two people in their moment of need just as we support so many others in theirs.

Our thoughts and actions are with Evan’s and Elizabeth’s loved ones, colleagues, and communities, and we continue to pray for their swift return home.

Shabbat Shalom,