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Jerusalem Post – Grapevine, January 7, 2024

Nova Music Festival survivors shared testimony at the World Union of Jewish Students’ (WUJS) Centennial gathering during WUJS’s annual Congress, which was covered by the Jerusalem Post.

Read in the Jerusalem Post.

As traumatic as it is for them to relive their haunting experiences of October 7, 2023, Supernova music festival survivors are conscious of the fact that any information they provide for a wider public may help to secure the release of the hostages still being held by Hamas.

Some of them shared testimony with more than 150 Jewish students from 30 countries across six continents, whose gathering was facilitated by B’nai B’rith International.

A daunting ceremony

The special meeting in Prague was organized in close cooperation with the B’nai B’rith World Center Jerusalem during the centennial gathering of the World Union of Jewish Students at its annual congress in Prague.

Nani, a motivational online content creator from Tel Aviv and Chinitz, a child therapist from Ness Ziona, were among the 3,000 festival attendees on the morning of October 7, and among the first to realize that what had started out as a seemingly distant barrage of rockets was in fact a full-scale land and air attack by what we now know were thousands of armed terrorists.

Their accounts detailed over 10 hours of a life-threatening race: escaping first by car and then by foot, seeking improvised shelter, ducking from gunfire centimeters above their heads and encountering moments of luck and misfortune.

In the hour-long emotional session with the students, Nani and Chinitz recounted with moving humor and sensibility the small human details of the experience – among them a symbolic lucky bell pepper that Chinitz had picked up while hiding in a greenhouse – that the two whimsically deemed the bell pepper of victory.

Nani and Chinitz paid tribute to their friends – Dan and Itay, who were murdered in the attack, and the many other victims from the Supernova music festival, as well as those still held hostage by Hamas – including Noa Argamani, a friend of Chinitz’s. They spoke of the lingering trauma and long journey to healing on which they have currently embarked, the unbreakable bond that the experience created between them and their future plans as shaped by the attack.

And what happened to the bell pepper? It remains a symbol of resilience and victory.

And a victory it was, as the two friends survived to tell the story. The session was the first testimony that the two had offered outside of Israel, and the student group responded with questions, support, emotion, and a sense of responsibility to amplify their story: to their peers, policymakers, and media back home.

While more than 120 Israelis are still being held hostage in Gaza, and Israel is at war, following the most devastating attack on its soil since its creation, Nani, Chinitz, and the entire Nova community, through their motto and their spirit, remind us that “We Will Dance Again.”

The testimonial session was part of a broader set of activities facilitated by B’nai B’rith at WUJS Congress, including a delegation of IMPACT: Emerging Leaders fellows – a program developed in partnership with WUJS, and a lawfare offering to address antisemitism on campuses around the world, provided in partnership with WUJS and the Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IJL).