A Mother's Resilience: American-Israeli Woman Named Among Time’s 100 Most Influential People for 2024

Rachel Goldberg-Polin shows courage in the face of adversity.



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In a world marked by turmoil and conflict, stories of resilience and strength can often offer a ray of hope, even during the most challenging of times. Such is the case of an American-Israeli mother whose unwavering determination and advocacy have earned her a place among TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People for 2024. 

The journey of Rachel Goldberg-Polin began with an unthinkable tragedy. Her son Hersh was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists when he participated in the Nova music festival in the South of Israel in October 2023. Despite the harrowing circumstances, Goldberg-Polin refused to be silenced, using her platform to raise awareness and demand action for the safe return of her son and others like him.

The power of a mother’s love
The recognition bestowed upon Goldberg-Polin by TIME underscores the power of a mother's love and the resilience of the human spirit in the midst of unimaginable challenges.“Hope is absolutely mandatory. I believe it, and I have to believe it, that he will come back to us,”  Goldberg-Polin told the BBC. 

Israel21C reports that Hersh celebrated his 23rd birthday just days before he was kidnapped. He was born in Berkeley, California, to Rachel and her husband, Jon, both originally from Chicago. 

“Hersh is laidback, easygoing and funny, with a dry, dark sense of humor. He’s sarcastic without being mean — there’s no mean in Hersh.  He’s very curious, and he’s always been a voracious reader. He loves soccer, and he loves music festivals. He’s always been very obsessed with geography and the idea of travel,” Goldberg-Polin told Israel21C. 

The Goldberg-Polin’s story resonates with people around the globe who understand the pain of separation and the longing for justice. Her journey is not just about one family's struggle but about the collective effort to uphold human rights and fight against injustice everywhere.

“I want to thank TIME for my inclusion on the TIME100 and for recognizing the significance and gravity of the hostage crisis and the need for the world to advocate on their behalf, until each one is returned home,” Goldberg-Polin said in a statement.

In an interview with Ynet News,  Goldberg-Polin spoke passionately about the need for governments and international organizations to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of hostages and their families. Her words were a call to action for leaders to take decisive steps towards resolving conflicts and ending the suffering of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.

Advocating for compassion and empathy
Goldberg-Polin’s inclusion in TIME's prestigious list is not just a recognition of her personal journey but also a spotlight on the broader issues of conflict resolution, humanitarianism, and the rights of hostages and their families. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for compassion, empathy, and solidarity in a world often divided by politics and ideology. 

As she continues her advocacy work, Goldberg-Polin embodies the strength and resilience of mothers everywhere who refuse to give up in the face of adversity. In honoring her as one of the 100 Most Influential People for 2024, TIME Magazine acknowledges not just her individual impact but also the collective voice of countless individuals and organizations working tirelessly for a better, more just world.

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