Hanukkah Camp Speeches

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On the last night of Chanukah camp, bereaved children stand up before the entire camp and speak about their journey of healing. 

Chananel Roi Arbel – Father was killed in a shooting attack

My name is Chananel Roi Arbel  and I am 14-year-old. I am part of the younger boys division.

I joined OneFamily six years ago and I am always happy to come to the camps and activities during the year.

My father, whom I named after, was murdered 14 years ago in a shooting attack near Telmon, where I live. I was only two and a half months old when my father was murdered. All I know about my father is from stories and pictures.

A year and a half ago, we lived in Nofei Prat and I was a member of the Scouts. Scouts have a mentor program where older kids hang out with young ones. I was asked if I wanted to have an older guy to be a mentor. He said he would only do it if I was ready. He paid attention to me and noticed all of my qualities.

Many people tend to feel sorry for me when they hear that I am a bereaved child, and that I was born prematurely and that every few years I have to undergo surgery and treatments. I was very happy that my mentor focused on my positive traits and the things I loved and not my speech difficulties and my physical disabilities, which many people focus on.

I want to invite my sister Emunah to light a candle with me.

I was supposed to tell you about something good I saw in her, but there are too many things, so I’ll try to sum it up with one word, just thank you for being my sister.

Happy holidays!

Dorine Turgeman – Sister Hadas was killed in a terrorist attack

My name is  Dorine Turgeman and I am 14 years old. I am part of the Youth divisions mixed younger girls group. I joined OneFamily six years ago.

In 2002, 15 years ago, my sister Hadas came home from an activity organized by a youth group she attended in our community. Hadas and her best friend Linoy, were chatting at the entrance to Linoy’s house. Suddenly, a terrorist infiltrated our town and killed my sister Hadas and her best friend.

Three days before my sister was killed she came up with an idea to create games room for the children in our community. She approached the people in charge of the community with a list of what games would be good and what was important to donate.

At the memorial service for Hadas, my family opened the games room that Hadas had planned to open. Every day, all the children of the community can come and play in all kinds of games, such as air hockey, table tennis and racing cars.

I go to the games room several times a week, to open the place for children who come and I feel good helping them with the games. I like it there.

I would like to invite Emily Rider to light a candle with me.

During all the times I have been at OneFamily, I met Emily and saw that you can always be trusted, and there is never a dull moment with you.

Moriah Cohen – Brother Neriah was killed in a shooting attack in Merkaz Hrav 

My name is Moriah Cohen and I am 14 years old. I am part of the younger girls group at camp.

My brother Neriah and seven of his friends were murdered in a terror attack at Merkaz Harav 10 years ago.

I joined OneFamily five years ago when I was in third grade.

I wanted to tell you about something that happened to me.  After my brother Neriah was murdered, I experienced a serious incident that caused me to limp on my right foot.  Last summer at camp something very meaningful happened to me.

Our group went ice skating and I was very scared because I did not want to skate and hurt my leg again, but then my group gave me a hand and walked with me together on the ice. It gave me strength and the feeling that I was not alone and there was someone with me who I could always hold on to. And I succeeded. I felt great satisfaction because at first I did not believe in myself but after they helped me, it gave me confidence and I could do it.

This year I did not want to dance. I was afraid everyone would laugh at me. My councilor did not give up on me; she insisted that I dance and that I ignore anyone who laughs. At the last minute I decided to dance and it made me feel like I should not give up on myself even when it was difficult.

I want to invite Tal Arbel from my group to light a candle with me.

Tal, I saw that you are a true friend. You are always there for me when I need you

You never give up on yourself nor on me,

And I see how much strength and determination you have inside you.

 Rotem Rahav – Brother Bar was killed in operation Protective Edge

Hello, my name is Rotem Rahav and I am 15 years old.  I am from the mixed older group.

Three and a half years ago, my older brother Bar was killed by an anti-tank missile in his operational vehicle.

Bar was always my hero. I always tried to imitate him and be like him. I wanted to be just like him.

As a little boy I thought the world was perfect and that nothing could happen to me and my family.

That’s why, when they called Bar to war I was not afraid, I did not believe that anything would happen to him, I did not believe that something would happen to my hero.

When he was killed, I realized that life is not like a movie.

I had nightmares and fears. I no longer felt safe.

At the same time I participated in a program called the Squadron Club – a club for improving your leadership abilities.

Reuven, the program’s director, was the one who saw me and my distress. He took me under his wing and helped me get up the depths of my sadness and help me function. Every time something happened to me he was the first to be there. He became my hero too.

As time passed my fears and nightmares disappeared, I began to feel more confident, I matured and realized that if I lived in fear it was not life, I should enjoy life and what I have. Since then I have been doing what I love and looking for pleasure in everything. Bar remains my hero and he will always stay, even if he is not with us now, he stays in my heart and he is with me and guides me and protects me. Now Reuven is also my hero and I know that when I need him, he will be there.

I want to invite Nethaniel Gavrieli to light a candle with me.

In the short time Nethaniel and I have got to know each other through OneFamily, I saw what a great friend Nethaniel is.

Tal Mansour – Brother was killed in a shooting attack

My name is Tal Mansour, I am in the senior youth division and I am 18 years old.

I have been part of OneFamily for ten years. Twelve years ago my older brother Aviad was murdered in a shooting attack.

I used to study at the Arad College but two years ago, I decided to leave as I felt that it was not the right place for me.  I wanted a change, to start afresh and I decided to leave although I know this decision was not supported by those closest to me.

Although everyone knew what I had been through, I felt I was very much alone in this decision I saw myself and chose to do what was good for me. I made the decision and it came from a place that was good for me.

After I left the college, I moved into a new place and it was really good for me. My family saw this was important to me and that it was good for me.

I think that once we really try to look at ourselves and see what is important to us and are more in tune with ourselves then we are more connected to those around us.

I want to invite Raya Arama from my group to light the last candle with me.

In our time together at OneFamily, Raya and I got to know each other and I see how much you care and have the ability to see the other person for who she or he is.

Techlet Teharlev – Brother Elchai was killed in a terror attack

My name is Techlet Teharlev and I go to the younger girls group at camp.

I joined OneFamily this past summer.

Eight months ago, my older brother Elchai was killed in a terrorist attack at the entrance to Ofra about six months after he enlisted in the army.

Elchai was killed on the eve of Passover. Since it happened a large part of the reality I knew has changed. On the Seder night, we were at home together with the whole family. We had a very short mourning period because of the festival of Passover.

At that time I did not really understand what was happening, it hadn’t really hit me, everyone around me was crying, and I had not yet internalized that Elchai would never come back.

During Passover, we went with Elchai’s company commander and battalion commander and they told us exactly what happened during the attack and I felt like I was watching a movie and felt empty.

For the first month, during the 30-day mourning period, we spent most of the time together at home. This gave me a sense of togetherness and of shared sense of coping with the loss. It also made me feel the huge void especially because we were all together and only Elchai was nowhere to be found.

Not only was the initial mourning period  interrupted in the middle because of Pesach, the 30-day mourning period also occurred at a time when there were many other significant events – Remembrance Day , immediately followed by Independence Day, which would have been Elchai’s birthday.

And to mark the end of the 30-day mourning period, we went to visit the grave. Afterwards all of our friends and family, and acquaintances gathered together and everything started to feel real. I felt that I was starting to digest a little more, and all the feelings came stronger – a strong pain, a strong longing, and a fear of forgetting what Elchai was for me.

At the funeral, I did not want to eulogize and expose everything that I had in my heart to so many people, some of whom I did not know. I continued to feel uncomfortable crying around people during the thirty-day mourning period because it felt like I was exposing my private emotions.

But during the thirty-day mourning period I decided to talk and to reveal what felt alright for me to share some of my feelings about the murder.

Even today, I questioned whether it is right for me to expose myself and my feelings here to so many people, but I decided to overcome the fear of sharing as part of my desire to understand myself and the process that I went through. I hope that it will empower me further down the road.

A little before a summer camp, Reut, the OneFamily coordinator came to me for a visit and invited me to join OneFamily.

The truth is that I was a little worried but mostly I was curious about how it would help me.

For me, summer camp was an experience of getting to know OneFamily, to get to know the amazing people who are part of this association, the friends and the group counselors, and especially to understand the new reality I am now experiencing and in which everyone at camp feels similar to what I feel.

I arrived at the camp excited but also nervous. Straight away, the girls from my group of the younger girl’s camp, welcomed me and gave me a sense of belonging and I felt comfortable to be around them.

I had fun and the process of first joining OneFamily went by smoothly and pleasantly. When the camp was over, I returned home with a feeling that I had returned from a place where I was happy, and I was already looking forward for the next opportunity to meet again. The counselors and the members of the group gave me a strong feeling that they were always there for me. It meant so much to me.

If I try to sum up the period I went through, it can be said that this was a period of sharp transitions. The transition from complete reality to where reality is lacking.

The feeling of moving from moments of joy to moments of sadness.

Beyond the feeling of being an ordinary child like everyone else, I feel that my life is different to my other friends.

Whereas, here in OneFamily, I feel part of something that everyone here experienced a similar situation and that here my feelings are understood.

I want to share something that happened to me thanks to joining OneFamily.

Before I joined I did not feel comfortable talking with people other than my family, people who have not experienced the deep sadness inside that I experienced.

Yet since joining OneFamily, I feel comfortable sharing a lot more freely – even to people who are not from the organization and do not experience or feel similar feelings to mine.

This is to the merit of OneFamily and is possible here because I know there are other people in the organization who feel just like me.

I want to invite Renana Yifrach to light the Chanukah candles together with me.

Renana, along the way there have been many people helping me, but you have been my special friend and made the process of joining OneFamily much easier and more pleasant. You gave me a feeling that you wanted to be close and that made me feel good.

Renana I would like to say thank you and invite you to light up with me Chanukah candle

Thank you very much.

Yitzhak Benita – Brother Aharon was killed in a terror attack

My name is Yitzhak Benita. I am 17 and from Jerusalem. I attended the older boys camp.

My brother Aharon was murdered just over two years ago on the night of Hoshanah Rabba on his way back from praying at the Western Wall with his wife and children.

Like any teenage boy I have many questions about myself, who am I? What do I believe in? What do I want to do in life? I have a lot of questions which occupy me.  How do I see myself in the future? And more.

On the outside I appear to be like everyone else, but inside there is something else.

My brother’s memory accompanies me everywhere I go: during school, after school, and when I am alone at night.

There does not need to be a specific reason or thing that reminds me of him or makes me think of him, he is always there.

Since the bereavement, we have come closer as a family, especially all of my siblings. We talk more and try to share what we are going through,

I feel that in OneFamily the people understand me and know how to give me a sense of security and specialness.

I want to invite Dvir Littman – from the older boys camp – to light this candle with me

Dvir and I met for the first time two months months ago through OneFamily.

Dvir, I always felt that you were a partner and a good friend who really understands what I have experienced.

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