Hundreds of young bereaved Israelis shared their memories in an unusual memorial Day event hosted by the One Family terror victim organization Tuesday night.
The event offered an intimate environment to share personal stories, songs and poems about lost loved ones. Mothers spoke about losing their sons, brothers and sisters spoke about siblings and children who were mere toddlers at the time of their parents' deaths also shared their personal memories.
Remembrance Day traditionally was dedicated to remembering soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice, but in recent years this was extended to include the thousands of victims of terror.
Many of the bereaved families who attend these ceremonies often have emotional and physical difficulties and cannot easily attend official memorial ceremonies held across the country.
OneFamily organization’s youth division held the intimate memorial event to encourage bereaved young Israelis to share their stories with other youngsters who experienced the same horror of losing close relatives to terrorism.
“After my brother was killed, I couldn’t bear to attend the usual Remembrance Day ceremonies; they all seemed so disconnected from my reality," said Ofer Shambik, whose brother David was brutally murdered in 2003 while taking a walk with his girlfriend in the Jerusalem forest.
Marc Belzberg, chairman and founder of OneFamily told those gathered, “We will continue to come together on Remembrance Day each year, as one family together, one caring family that understands each others pain and is always there in times of need, may we merit to see a time when no more families have to feel this pain.”
Over the last 10 years, OneFamily has effected the rehabilitation of thousands of Israel’s 17,000 victims of terror; facilitating their healing and reintegration into society by providing material and rehabilitative support.
The Jerusalem-based organization, which is led by founders Chantal and Marc Belzberg, grew from their then-12-year-old daughter’s initiative to donate her Bat Mitzvah gifts to benefit the victims of the 2001 Sbarro suicide bombing.