Thinking of hostages with peanut butter cookies


As we prepare for the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, I can’t help but think that we are at another holiday without our brothers and sisters home. The hostages remain in my thoughts each and every day that passes. Our families make food for the holiday and sit around the table, and yet we are missing people. The hostages aren’t home, they aren’t spending the holidays with their families, and they don’t get to have their favorite foods.

This Shavuot, a cookbook — “Shavuot of Longing — Their Recipes on Our Table” — was published by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, featuring recipes of favorite foods that the hostages enjoy. While they can’t have them, maybe we should enjoy something for them.

One of the hostages that I think about is Omer Neutra. He is the son of Ronen and Orna Neutra. Omer was born and raised in Plainview on Long Island, captain of his basketball and soccer teams. He chose to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, deferring from going to Binghamton University.

Actively participating in the Metropolitan New York region of USY — and frequently taking on the responsibilities to advocate and strengthen connections to Israel — led Omer to being president of the entire region.

Since Omer grew up on Long Island many people from the community have been reaching out to the Neutra family. They have been speaking up and showing their support for their family member and friend who they dearly miss. Rallies have been continuously happening and people are sharing pictures and videos of him on social media.

Recently at a rally, Omer’s brother Daniel spoke about him. He said, “Omer is a best friend.”

During a gap-year program in Israel 4 years ago, Omer connected to the land and culture “but most importantly the people, a people with a rich history and a volunteering sprit, but a people that is constantly under threat,” Daniel recalled.

This led him to serve in the IDF. He was a tank commander at the border on Oct. 7th and his family hasn’t heard from him since.

• • •

Every holiday that passes, I wonder how much longer are we going to be on edge waiting to hear something about the hostages. I think to myself, has it really been as long as it’s been?

While we are getting ready for Shavuot, think about a hostage and prepare one of 75 recipes included in “Shavuot of Longing — Their Recipes on Our Table.” Each recipe is accompanied by information about a hostage. The purpose of the cookbook is to honor the connection between food, family and longing for loved ones.

I am choosing to make Omer’s favorite, Peanut Butter Cookies.


1 cup Peanut Butter

1 cup Dark Brown Sugar

1 large Egg

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

100 grams (4 oz. or 1/2 cup) Chocolate Chips/Chopped Chocolate


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl

Scoop them into balls using an ice cream scoop

Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 350-degrees

Just like I have the opportunity to spend the holidays with my family so should the hostages. Let’s all bake in preparation for Shavuot and remember the hostages. Bring them home NOW!

The recipe is from the Tastes Like Home website — Click here for recipe

The book can be purchased from the Hostages and Missing Families Forum website —  Click here for cookbook