Hanukkah Celebration for Victims of Terror
Vision for Israel recently sponsored a Hanukkah celebration for terror victims. See below to read what Batya thought of the event.
We arrived at the event hall and heard a band from South America playing folk music while wearing sombreros. The atmosphere was warm. We saw that the entrance was full of people, walking with plates of food, noshing and talking, smiling and enjoying the food and music. If someone would have walked in not knowing who these people are, they wouldn't have guessed that this is a very special population—they are all terror victims. Most of them went through difficult experiences that are too hard to utter. They saw the evil, murder, and hate before their eyes. Some of them were saved from scenes of horror, went through hard rehabilitation, and are adjusting to a new life. Among them are widows and widowers, orphans, injured men and women, and bereaved parents. They were all invited to celebrate Hanukkah, to light the candles together, to enjoy with friends and forget for a few hours the challenges that they face. Some of the invited weren't even able to come and celebrate. Their daily lives are so hard that they are not even in the mood to get out and celebrate.
After we entered the event hall, everyone was seated around tables. We sat down with the Shefi family. In 2002 Shir and Ya'acov Shefi lost their five-year-old daughter, Danielle, after a terrorist entered their home. Shir was telling me with tears in her eyes that life never returned back to normal. The nightmares return every night, and the pain and longing for their daughter, who would have been 20 today, never stop. I felt a sharp pain in my heart just from thinking, how can I tell her that there's no choice, and that she has to keep on for the sake of the other children?
While we were talking, Shimon came up to the stage, a bereaved father who lost all of his family in one moment. A suicide bomber murdered his wife and three children. Shimon lit the candles, and before saying the blessing, he said, "I lost my whole family in one cursed moment, and I'm here before you, 30 years later. I sank into my grief and couldn't find comfort—until one day, I decided that I won't let our enemies overcome me. I decided to pull myself up. I met my new wife, who became the mother of my children, and today I have 8 children and 18 grandchildren. I won the fight against our enemies. They are for death, and we are for life. This is my answer and advice to all of us today: we are the winners in spirit and emotion, and our love to the Almighty is the real way to victory."
The experience of being among people who went through the worse imaginable things and come out of there stronger than ever is the gratitude we receive.