Bay Area Jewish Organizations Placing Empty Shabbat Tables, Demanding Hostages’ Return

A coalition of Jewish organizations and allies around the Bay Area are placing empty Shabbat tables in prominent public places to demand the safe return of hostages held by Hamas.

The tables will include symbolic seating for all 240 of the hostages–including several Americans and Bay Area residents–still held by the terrorist organization following the attack on October 7.

Shabbat is the Jewish sabbath and is often celebrated each week by spending time with family and community. The vacant tables are a powerful and poignant reminder of the hostages who have been taken away from their homes and families.

“The community will not rest until every hostage is released and returns home safely,” the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) said in a statement.

The tables will be placed by a large coalition of Jewish organizations and allies including Event hosted by JCRC Bay Area; B&B Locksmith and Security Inc.; Chabad of Concord; Chabad of Contra Costa; Chabad of Lafayette; Chabad of Marin; Congregation Beth El, Berkeley; Congregation Beth Israel, Berkeley; Congregation Beth Shalom, Napa Valley; Congregation B’nai Shalom, Walnut Creek; Congregation B’nai Tikvah, Walnut Creek; Contra Costa JCC; Golden State Endodontics: Dr. A. Scott & Siena Cohen; Israeli American Council (IAC); JCC East Bay; JCCSF; OneTable; ORT America; Peninsula Sinai Congregation , Foster City; Peninsula Temple Beth El, San Mateo; Peninsula Temple Sholom, Burlingame; PJCC; Russian Speaking Jewish Community of San Francisco; Temple Isaiah, Lafayette; Temple Sinai; and the Wornick Jewish Day School.

The tables will be placed on Friday, November 10, 2023, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT.

Locations include:

Here’s your list in a bulleted format:

  • MLK Park, Berkeley
  • Leo J. Ryan Park, Foster City
  • Congregation Beth Shalom, Napa
  • Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco
  • Dunphy Park Gazebo, Sausalito
  • Civic Park, Walnut Creek

Members of the public are invited to view the tables and to share photographs on social media in order to raise awareness. More information is available at:

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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