Five years later, at the age of 19, my other brother, Avihay, was serving in the army and died in a car accident. Avihay was a wonderful dancer and loved to make videos. Although both of my brothers were killed during their army service, I know that in 6 months I will go to the army, as well.
I know that there are plenty of reasons to be afraid to live in Israel; however, I don’t think there is any other place that I could live. I was in Poland three months ago and I developed a great understanding of how important it is to have Israel as a country. It is a place where every and any Jewish and non-Jewish person can live and feel safe.
My brother had set me up with his close friend, Asher. When we met, Asher was serving in the army and I was working as a nurse in the cardiac department of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. We married, and four months after our marriage, Asher finished his army service and returned to learn in Yeshiva. Within three months I was pregnant with our first child. I gave birth to a beautiful blue-eyed boy two days before Rosh Hashana. Asher and I were overjoyed, and we named him a name that we both loved, Yonatan. As a new family, life progressed, and the following summer Asher began his studies in mechanical engineering.
One year later, shortly before Yonatan’s first birthday, we were going to have Shabbat with my parents in Jerusalem. Since I worked the morning shift at the hospital, Asher was going to pick up Yonatan from the playground and drive to the hospital to pick me up.
I waited and waited for them. It wasn’t like Asher to be late. I tried calling him, but there was no answer. I finally took a taxi to my parents’ house. I began to fear. Two policemen came at 5pm to report that my Asher and little Yonatan were killed in what looked like a car accident. In my heart, I knew this was no accident. After an investigation, it was revealed that Asher was killed by a head injury after a large rock was thrown at his windshield by terrorists from an oncoming car. This was a new tactic of terror attacks on the road. Asher’s car then crashed into a ditch and my baby boy, Yonatan, was killed. At this time, I was five months pregnant with our second child.
Four months after my husband and son were murdered, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who I named Orit, which means “light.” She became my reason to live, and still is. She is the light of my life. I am always telling Orit that she had a father and a brother, and how amazing they were.
A few weeks later, OneFamily contacted me. I slowly became involved and now attend support groups with other victims of terror. Unfortunately, there are too many of us but we have found each other at OneFamily. We give each other support and understanding. We help each other want to live despite our pain. At OneFamily, I have met amazing people who have given me the emotional support that I so needed. I feel at home and among people who understand me.
OneFamily started helping my family right after my father died. My brother started going to their youth activities and, when I turned 8, I joined him. I was a part of the summer camp program in Israel. I also had the opportunity to go to Canada to an overnight camp, Camp Timberlane. For the past 10 years, Camp Timberlane has partnered with OneFamily and welcomed many kids from Israel to the camp. What I like best about OneFamily is that I have become so close with the campers and counsellors; we are like a real family and are in touch with each other every day.
I was 4 years old when my father bought me my first guitar. From this age up to the age of 11, all I did was hit the strings. Eventually I made the decision to go to a teacher and learn how to play. I have the same playing style as my father did, and I love many of the songs and bands that he listened to. I love to play and sing those songs with my friends as well.
Amit was my eldest brother. He was a very modest kid who loved to run. He trained for the army by being on a running team. This helped him achieve great results in his races. I used to love going to the sea with him and my father. We would play frisbee and sit by the sea for hours. It was my favourite thing. I loved talking with him; he would tell me about his experience in the army and I would tell him about my races. If I had one wish, it would be to be able to run with him one last time and tell him everything he has missed with our family and his friends.
My mother found a job in a factory, and my father enlisted in the army. It was always his dream to help the State of Israel. They got a small apartment where we all lived together.
But on March 6, 2002, everything changed. My mother tells me that at 3:20 AM, I was rushed to the hospital because I became very sick. My father was not at home; he was on a patrol mission at the Gaza border. A few hours after my mom and I came home from the hospital, there was a knock at the door. Two officers came with the tragic news that my father had been killed. They told my mom that my father’s patrol was ambushed by terrorists and he was fatally shot, and that died at exactly 3:20 AM. From that moment on, 3:20 became much more than just an hour for us. My mom tells me that for many years, she would wait for 3:20 to pass, and then take a deep breath and try to sleep.
You probably ask how I cope with the death of my dad. To be honest, I don’t think I have learned how to, but my journey continues. The hardest thing for me is that I don’t really remember my dad. When my family speaks of him, I close my eyes and try to envision him. What I want the most is to see him again – maybe just have breakfast with him, travel somewhere with him, and tell him everything about me, and how proud of me he should be. This will never happen but, nevertheless, it feels good to dream.
A few years ago, I joined OneFamily and it has helped me a great deal. I made so many new friends who understand me. OneFamily has really shown me what true compassion is.
My father said, “He was tough on the outside and soft inside. He was both a strict commander and an incurable romantic. ”
He liked courting danger, and had taken a sky-diving course in his time off. Aviv’s troops said that when they had free time, he would take them to look at flowers and listen to the birds. My mother, Edna, said, “I was always afraid, but Aviv would say, ‘If I’m not there, who will do the work?’ I was so proud of him.”
After his death, I joined OneFamily and I never missed a year of the OneFamily camps in Israel until I joined the army. Since I became a part of this family, I always wanted to be a counselor because I wanted to give back and help people in the same way I was helped. One year before the army, I finally got to be a counselor. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I was also a part of the first group of OneFamily kids to go to Camp Timberlane in Canada 10 years ago. This past summer, I returned as a counselor there as well. It is a beautiful program!
Everyone took it very hard, but I did not understand what had really happened, as I was very little. People tell me that my dad had a heart of gold and a loved everyone around him and that I look just like him. When I first came to OneFamily, the story was still sensitive to me, but after a few years of being with such great and people who truly care, it had become possible for me to overcome the tragedy and speak freely about it. I can only say one word: Thanks.
My brother was kind, modest, generous and the best brother I could have ever asked for.
OneFamily, for me, was my rescue, my safe place that I could always go to. Kids from all over the country, with stories like mine, would share nothing but happiness and joy, going through hard times together but making each other happy nonetheless.
If I could have spent another moment with Moshe, I would have taken him to go see the newest Marvel movie like we use to do, and right after, we would run back home for a good game on PlayStation.
I have been a part of OneFamily for as long as I can remember. They have also helped support my family in many ways, including financially, when needed. I have been going to their camps in Israel for nine years already, and attended their program in Canada at Timberlane. Since the second grade, they have been my second family. I have so many good friends from all over the country and throughout the world, thanks to OneFamily.
This year I got a tattoo of my father’s initial between two angel wings. His name was Zohar, and he will always be with me.
On August 3, 2010, he was killed in a sniper attack on the Lebanon border. I was 15 years old at the time. From that moment on, my life changed forever.
My father’s name was Barry, and every day I miss him and feel his absence, but in my heart he will be with me forever.
When I joined OneFamil,y I made so many new friends and understood that I always would have somewhere to go and have someone to turn to. I want to thank OneFamily, the one place I can always feel safe.
My father, Daniel Ben David, was born and raised in Ahituv. He was a basketball player like me and in the army he was a paratrooper.
He was the best father a young boy could ask for. We used to do everything together. We played basketball together, we went to Maccabi Tel Aviv games together, and just had fun always.
My dad was a special man and everyone loved him. He was a leader, funny, nice, loving and caring. We used to talk about everything and did everything together. He was my role model.
My dad was killed in the Second Lebanon War on August 6, 2006, near Kibuttz Kfar Giladi when a katusha rocket exploded and killed 12 soldiers – one of them was my dad. I was 9 years old.
He lives in me during every second of my life. He guides me and leads me like he did before he died. I do my best to keep my family together and be their guide like he was and still is mine. I love him and always remember him and a lot of what I do today and who I am is because of him. He will always be my guide and I’ll always look up to him.
I want to say thank you to OneFamily for everything they do for me and how they gave me a second home where I could feel loved and safe.
One day, when she was coming home for the weekend from the army and waiting at the bus stop, she was shot and murdered by a terrorist. The terrorist was disguised as an Israeli soldier and opened fire into a crowd of civilians. Two others were killed as well, along with 13 injured.
When Tali died, like a thunderstorm on a shiny day, fear and agony were born into our lives, unwelcomed…It appeared on our doorstep without permission and walked in taking my sister’s place. This became the new leader in our home…Now that time has passed, we have learned to push them away, into the attic. We don’t want them, they are not Tali, for Tali was good, great and excellent.
If dreams could come true, my only wish would be that Tali could hear me one more time so I could thank her for being there for me, even after all these years – for me, my brothers, my parents, my nephew…Thank you Tali for everything we are today and everything we have.
OneFamily is my big family now. This organization was the first to hug us with love and compassion. They helped us get stronger and still do today. They have truly created warmth and solidarity among Israelis who share a national grief. This year, as a counselor with OneFamily going for my second time to Camp Timberlane in Canada, I can say that our new Canadian family, who has embraced OneFamily, are amazing people, full of love who truly care about us. They have become a part of our story. Thank you.”
My brother and I had a special connection and he was my best friend. My favourite memories of Adar are his smile and the optimism he had at every moment. Since I lost him, OneFamily has been there for my family and me, and has supported me whenever I need them. They truly have helped me through the hardest times. OneFamily has really become a second home for me, and I want to thank them. If I had one wish it would be to know that Adar is watching over us and that he is happy up there.
Shahar was taken to the hospital, and after 12 hours in surgery, his life was saved; however, the damage was severe. He lost his top right jaw, many of his teeth, and he injured his neck. His recovery will take around three years. It was later discovered that a dentist from the Palestinian village of Abu Dis was the terrorist who orchestrated the attack, and also set off the bombs with his cellphone.
I am thankful for OneFamily, who opened their arms to my family right after the attack. They also gave my brother Gil and I the chance to come to Canada and experience Camp Timberlane this past summer.
Bar was always happy, and loved nature and travelling. After his death, we made a memorial project called, “We Travel With Bar,” where anyone who is travelling is invited to take a photo of themselves holding a sign with, ‘Travelling with Bar’ written on it, and send it to the Facebook page, “In the memory of Bar Rahav.” The sign is travelling all over the world from the East to South America, Europe, Africa and throughout North America. Bar is travelling with them.
After the tragedy, many things helped me with the loss of my big brother. First, I went back to dancing, where I would dance in hopes of forgetting the world outside. I also joined OneFamily, and experienced the ‘Power of Together’. I got to know a group of kids of all different ages, and we became one big family; they are my extended brothers and sisters. They all have gone through similar experiences to mine.
The first camp I went to, I met twins, Alon and Tamar, who are four years older than me. We became very good friends. They and all my other friends from OneFamily understand me even if I don’t want to talk. They look at me and know everything. We speak on the phone every Friday and meet at their events, which happen in Israel and abroad, including Canada this past summer.
So what has OneFamily given to me? This is a hard question, but it has a simple answer: OneFamily gave my life back to me.
I have a lot of memories from my dad. Some of them are real, but some of them are probably a collection of pictures and stories, which I have compiled over the years. This puzzle of memories is what helped me say today, that my father was a man of peace, values and family, and I am trying to walk in his footsteps.
Last summer I had the honour to return to Camp Timberlane, in Canada as a counselor – a place where I had gone to 7 years before as a camper with OneFamily. This was an experience that I will never forget. The happiness and smiles that Timberlane brings to the OneFamily kids makes you feel like you’re doing something good, right from the heart, and of course, makes you smile as well. Three weeks of fun, with new friendships that will never break.
OneFamily helped me though the first few years of bereavement, and despite long periods where I was away from it, I know that I always have a place at OneFamily.
My name is Linoy and I am 16 years old. My brother’s name was Gal. Two-and-a-half years ago, he was killed during the Protective Edge war. He was shot by Hamas terrorists by an anti-tank missile.
Gal and I had a special connection. We were good friends, played music together and would talk about everything. Since his death, OneFamily has always been there for me and my family. They helped me through the hardest of times. I met the best people there and I am grateful for that. I think that without OneFamily, my life would be totally different. Thank you.
Shaked was a red-faced man, and since kindergarten his friends would call him “Shaked the Commander.” He was a very sociable person who excelled in many things including swimming, music and sports.
Shaked joined the Army in 1996. In the beginning, he trained to be a pilot, but six months later he decided to become an artilleryman, and eventually an officer.
OneFamily supports and helps my family a lot. Every year, my brother Nadav and I go to camps and on trips. My mother also goes to the OneFamily centre in Ra’anana once a week. Last summer, I flew to camp in Canada with other kids from OneFamily for three weeks; it was a great and unforgettable experience. My brothers Dor and Nadav have also been to Canada. Dor was a counselor there in 2009. I would like to thank OneFamily for everything they have done for us!
It was a normal Saturday afternoon. My mom was taking nap, my little sister was playing with her dolls, my older sister was talking with friends on her phone and I was on the computer. Suddenly there was a knock at the door, and my big sister saw that there were soldiers there. My mom immediately went to the door. Some words were spoken, and my mom and sister started to scream and cry. I didn’t know what was happening. Then I saw my grandmother standing behind them, also crying. I understood something horrible had happened.
My dad’s name was Amotz. He taught me how to ride a bike, taught me about nature and always had a smile on his face. He was the coolest. At age 46, he went to the gym three times a week, and he was also a major in the army reserves, where he would train other reservists once a month. When I came to the realization that I would never see my dad again, I was broken. It was a dark time in my life.
Fast-forward two months later, when a lady named Nava came to visit us. She was from OneFamily, and since then they have supported us and helped my family a lot. Last year, I traveled to Canada in the summer with other kids from OneFamily for three weeks. It was the most amazing and unforgettable experience I would like to thank OneFamily for everything they have done for us.
About a week ago, Neta and I returned home after spending three and half weeks at Camp Timberlane in Canada. We were able to attend the camp through the help of OneFamily, an organization that helps Israeli victims of terror. During the trip, we stayed for five days with a wonderful family in Toronto. The trip was a “once-in-a lifetime experience!” We made lots of new friends from Canada and Israel.
In one of the camp activities by the lake, a OneFamily counsellor spoke to another Israeli kid and me, and said there is a saying from Winnie-the-Pooh, that he says just seconds before eating honey, “There was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were (eating).” The time at camp in Canada was “an experience exactly like that – unparalleled.
On Friday nights at camp, we had a short ceremony after dinner, which is a reflective service called “Chapel.” The theme varies each week, but it is always tied into the camp philosophy and culture. At the last Chapel, we discussed what OneFamily is and what the organization does. The kids who came with OneFamily spoke about their loss. Enav and I spoke together, about you, and about her dad. We talked about the rocket attack that ended both your lives in 2014. It was important to speak about continuing your traditions and to teach the Canadians about the Israeli story and how many people have been killed and injured in terror attacks.
There are people who feel that after they are bereaved, they need to take everything into account for the person who died, but I feel differently. I know you are watching over me and this trip to Canada, and camp was like a gift from you as you watch over me.
I want to say thank you for all the wonderful gifts you give me.
Thank you Abba,
My father taught me to always smile, and OneFamily causes us not only to smile on our faces, but also to always smile on the inside. Now I know that my father looks down at me and smiles.
The road to recovery has been steep and unpredictable. But there has been one constant: the support of OneFamily. A staff member from OneFamily came to the shiva, and told us he was there for us in any way we needed. Later, I was invited to OneFamily’s upcoming youth camp. From the first moment I arrived, I felt like myself again. In school, everyone treated me differently, but at camp, I didn’t feel different. Everyone was dealing with their emotions the way I was dealing with mine. More than anything else, OneFamily made us feel we were not alone, which is the scariest feeling of all.
The experience with OneFamily has been crucial to my healing process. I don’t know any other way I could heal as much as I have, though I still have a long way to go. We know that we will always have OneFamily’s support, no matter what. There is no way to describe what that means to us.
Where are you?
Daddy, I want to talk to you!
It has been too long since we last spoke.
Those evil ones, it is my heart that they broke.
Without mercy or humanity, they stabbed your face,
Forgetting that violence brings no answer to any case.
For one year I was ever by your side,
Hoping and praying you would stay alive.
But then ten men surrounded your bed,
And sent the salvation of your soul far ahead.
Can’t believe you are gone.
You took away with you my shining sun.
And here I am, grieving at your stone.
Why? Oh why did you leave me all on my own?
Written by Yaffa (20) for her father, Howard (Howie) Rothman. In November 2015, two terrorists wielding guns and butcher knives entered a Har Nof synagogue in Jerusalem during morning prayers. They murdered four men praying there, as well as an Arab-Israeli (Druze) police officer. Howie tried to fight off the terrorists before sustaining multiple axe wounds to the head. He remained in a coma for 11 months, until he passed away in October 2016. He was known as a very cheerful and outgoing man, full of life who was always enthusiastic about everything he did. He is survived by his wife and 10 children. His son, Eli, died 12 years ago in a biking