The light that comes from the darkness

Every sentence felt painful, it made my heart ache in a way I had not experienced before.

I found it impossible for this to be the reality my eyes were witnessing.

“If the walls of this place could speak, they would scream.”

What had served as a logistics center and home of the IDF’s rabbinate, Shura army base has
become since that tragic Shabbat on October 7th, a place where bodies have been arriving in
abnormal amounts.

At Shura, even to this date, bodies are still being identified so they can have a dignified burial by their families and loved ones.

“Whenever you pray for the recovery of the IDF combat soldiers who have been wounded while fighting, I also ask you to pray for our mental health, we have seen things no one should ever see,” said one of the I.D.F. soldiers who has been working around the clock at Shura since the massacre.

October 7th. was the single deadliest day for the Jews since the end of the Holocaust.

How is it possible that in 2023 it happened AGAIN?

How is it possible that Never Again is NOW?

Victims of the pogrom arrived unrecognizable. Some had to be identified through deep tissue
DNA or dental records, as nothing else remained of them: their mutilated, burned and profaned bodies. Among the hundreds received here, were complete families who were murdered in cold blood in the Kibbutzim, partygoers who attended the NOVA festival, and the brave IDF soldiers who fell in battle in order to defend the state of Israel from the genocidal acts carried out by Hamas.

Horrifyingly, the way in which bodies were received, starkly resembled in my mind the images
of the Shoah. Stripped down to nothing but yet another chronological number - this was only for internal registration purposes within the base. It was through a numbering system that they could keep track of the 1200+ bodies that arrived unceasingly.

However, the outcome was not the same. At Shura, the victims who were numbered upon
arrival, were later properly identified to the maximum extent possible, in order to reclaim their
names. Not even the deadliest attempts to eliminate the Jewish people would prevent the
members of Shura from making everything possible to recognize the bodies, in order to give
them “...a memorial and a name (a ‘yad vashem’ that shall not be cut off”. (Isaiah).

As explained by a Rabbi who serves at Shura, he/she who perishes because of being targeted
as a Jew, is worthy of the holiest respect, Kavod, when passing away. The level of holiness is
so elevated that soldiers who fall in the name of Israel are even buried in their uniforms.

After listening to the testimonies of the volunteers at Shura and their significant devotion to pay tribute towards each of the victims, they thanked our delegation for coming in. Immediately, we all responded, “No. THANK YOU.” Due to their commitment, every single victim was honored, not leaving anyone behind.

A few moments later, within the same area of the base, we were moved to another building. We were invited to a concert that was going to be performed by one of the I.D.F.’s army bands.

The soldiers greeted us with bright smiles and beautiful voices, singing the Hatikvah- Israel’s
national anthem and song of HOPE.

Although I’ve probably sung the Hatikvah on countless opportunities, this time it felt different.

Each and every verse felt powerful, lighting up not only the room, but each of our hearts.

Antisemitism can hurt us, but it won't break us. Our enemies can try to destroy us, but our
Jewish pride is relentless. We are stronger and more resilient together. The only thing that can eliminate darkness is light. Our light as a Jewish nation, has proven to the world once again, that the people of Israel, live. AM ISRAEL CHAI