Written by Debbie Kornberg on November 29, 2023
Our morning started at Shefayim, the temporary home for the residents of Kibbutz Kfar Aza. We heard testimonies from three different people who shared their firsthand accounts of surviving the October 7 massacre. Their testimonies were heartbreaking and yet showed tremendous strength and courage. It is unimaginable what these families went through. I am talking about families with young children who endured this terrorist attack for 20 and some … 30 hours alone and cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no water, no food, no bathrooms…
Later on in the day, we ate lunch in the dining hall with the residents of Kfar Aza. Just as I was getting some food, I hear… “Debbie is that you?” I turn around and it is my friend Orit Cohen Zadikevitch. We hug each other with a firm embrace. She immediately tells me her husband was murdered. All I can do is hug her again but this time even tighter and tell her how sorry I am. She then asks “How are you here? Why are you here?” I explain that we are here to show support, solidarity, and most importantly let her know that she is not alone. We have this whole exchange next to her 85-year-old mother, Imma Batya, who also somehow miraculously survived because a rocket landed causing a bookshelf to block the entrance to the door of her safe room so the terrorists couldn’t get in. Orit goes on to say, “We are all alone.” “They all hate us.” “Don’t they know happened here?!” “Why don’t they believe us?” I hug her again and tell Orit and her mom that they are not alone. I assure her that the US Jewish community is standing with her, and this is the exact reason why we are here. We are here so you know that we stand with you and to make sure you know you are not alone. “I will tell your story and make sure people know your story! You are not alone. You are not alone!”
Please help Orit and all the other survivors know they are not alone. Share and post on social media about October 7 and the days that have followed.
We visited a healing space for people affected by the trauma of the NOVA MUSIC FESTIVAL. It is a beautiful indoor/outdoor space for the young people who survived, for the people who didn’t go but had friends that did and were either murdered or kidnapped. It is a place for parents and family members who lost someone(s). (Yes, we met a father who lost two daughters and a grandchild.) Once again, we see the amazing resilience and ingenuity of the Israeli people who are stepping up and filling in the gaps where needed.
The images tell a story of healing through various integrative programs and the power of community to heal and restore faith in humanity.