MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — An annual convention in New York for the Rabbis of Chabad Lubavitch turned into a sacred time for prayer with Israeli families whose loved ones are being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.

Rabbi Yosef Goldwasser returned to Mobile Wednesday after being in the Empire State for the past week.

The Chabad of Israel got together,” Goldwasser said. “They were thinking of what we could do in order to help the families of the hostages, and they said, ‘What better thing could we do than to bring all the families of the hostages to New York, so they can pray.'”

That’s exactly what happened.

On Monday, busloads of roughly 170 people traveled thousands of miles to New York with signs and t-shirts printed with their loved ones’ faces, pleading and praying for their safe return home from Gaza. 

In Judaism, there’s a tradition that goes back thousands of years that when someone is in a time of need, dealing with a hard time, then they pray by the resting place of a very special and righteous Jewish leader,” Goldwasser said.

The resting place is called the Ohel, where families lay down their worries. 

Goldwasser said the war between Israel and Hamas isn’t just physical, and the power of prayer plays a major role in the chaos dissolving.

“It’s a spiritual fight,” Goldwasser said. “And the way you deal with a spiritual fight is by adding on as much spirituality as possible and that’s why they brought them over.”

Goldwasser reflects on his time in New York with the families who arrived with so much uncertainty and left with support. 

“It really hit home,” Goldwasser said. “It’s really hard to think about what they’re going through but I think being there for them and being with them helped them out and it helps the world out.”