The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations welcomed Gilad Shalit in New York on Thursday, marking his freedom after more than five years in Palestinian captivity.

The Presidents Conference played a video entitled “Five Years to Freedom,” showing the many rallies, demonstrations, public displays and political efforts on behalf of Shalit’s release.

Shalit told attendees that he had an inkling of efforts to free him from his Gaza imprisonment, but was unaware of the scope of activity.

Conference of Presidents Chairman Richard B. Stone said the Jewish community had made Gilad’s freedom “a daily priority” and that thousands of Jews around the world had kept him in their thoughts and prayers every day.

Conference of Presidents Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents Malcolm Hoenlein presented Shalit with a 6-inch thick volume entitled “Letters to Gilad,” chronicling tens of thousands of letters collected throughout his captivity, and a volume of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).