Sydney Welker, 11, left, joins fellow students learning about social action projects in placing posters at the York Jewish Community Center Wednesday to
Sydney Welker, 11, left, joins fellow students learning about social action projects in placing posters at the York Jewish Community Center Wednesday to bring awareness to three Israeli teens who were kidnapped. (John A. Pavoncello photo — jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com)

Middle school campers at the York Jewish Community Center hung three yellow ribbons on a tree in front of the building Wednesday afternoon.

Posters around the base of the tree tell the story behind the ribbons: The York center joins the rest of the Jewish community in calling for the return of three Israeli teens abducted while walking home from school June 12 in Gush Etzion, a large Jewish settlement block in the West Bank.

Israel believes the militant group Hamas abducted Gilad Shaar, 16; Naftali Fraenkel, 16 and Eyal Yifrah, 19.

The purpose of the display in York is to raise awareness about the kidnappings, said Laura Merklin, the JCC's youth, teen and family director.

Madelyn Feltenberger, 11, ties a yellow ribbon around a tree in front of the York Jewish Community Center as she and fellow students of Tikkun Olam,
Madelyn Feltenberger, 11, ties a yellow ribbon around a tree in front of the York Jewish Community Center as she and fellow students of Tikkun Olam, promote the release of three kidnapped Israeli teens, Wednesday June 25 2014. John A. Pavoncello photo - jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com

Raising awareness: The students are a part of the Tikkun Olam summer camp offered through the JCC. "Tikkun Olam" is a Hebrew phrase that means "repairing the world," and emphasizes a shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world.

In addition to the statement Wednesday, the campers have hosted a bake sale to raise money for cancer research, and campers can participate in numerous community service events throughout the summer.

Upcoming weeks include volunteering at the food bank and writing letters to troops during the week of the Fourth of July, Merklin said.

The students, in sixth through eighth grade, said they hadn't heard much about the incident until the group started talking about it this week.


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Now, they said they hope the community will hear more about it and realize what's happening around the world.

— Reach Nikelle Snader at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.