I am sitting in the dining room of the Park Hotel in Netanya, among the victims and the bereaved of the 2002 Seder night massacre. This is the site of the most heinous and destructive tragedy of the 2nd Intifada. Ten years have now passed since that fateful night, and it is more and more incredible to conceive that such cruelty and cold blooded murder can exist in our world.
OneFamily’s Bereaved Father’s Choir is singing as I write. Kaddish has been said and candles lit for the 30 Jewish people who were murdered for the crime of sitting down together in this seaside city, in their new homeland, 57 years after Auschwitz. Several were indeed Holocaust survivors. Some left no children. This IS the Kaddish for them. Recited by people who they never knew, but with whom they are connected through the cruel circumstance of their death.
As those Jewish people sat together, in this room ten years ago tonight, in order to experience the Seder, to share the story of our people’s journey from severe slavery to redemption between the generations, a moment of pure terror shattered and destroyed and murdered and maimed and bereaved and extinguished lives.
It is now ten years later, and those who survived and were left behind are here again. In the very same room. On the same date. Individuals and families who have been shattered and broken in the most atrocious and traumatic way have returned to be together, and to continue to heal. To share their pain and to relive the moment. To honor those whose lives were stolen.
As each of them walked into this room and took their place and said their prayers and lit their candle, they were celebrating the resilience of the Jewish spirit, and the ability to continue and to rehabilitate - however challenging that rehabilitation may be.
If they are able to get themselves up and to return to this room, in spite of their burden, then we can all continue to believe in the survival of our nation, Israel, and of our people.
How is this resilience possible?
A significant part of the answer is “OneFamily”.
Now is not the moment for me to extol the virtues of this incredible organization whose consistent support, intuition, loving kindness, and understanding of the multiple emotional, physical, material and familial disabilities that being a victim of terror inflicts has enabled thousands of men, women and children to continue to function, and to carry on.
Bottom line: Ten years ago OneFamily seized responsibility for Israel’s victims of terror and has united them together with each other and with world Jewry. OneFamily has empowered the State of Israel and the Jewish people to reach this day, and to look hopefully to the future.
As so many of the people in this room here have expressed tonight, OneFamily makes them feel that they are never alone - even in the loneliest times in their post-terror journey.
May GD bless them all.