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B’nai B’rith Hosted live Menorah candle lighting events to “Share the Light” with Survivors/Families of Oct. 7 Terrorism.

On the first night of Chanukah, B’nai B’rith hosted IDF Tank Commander Ziv Halsband, who was injured in the earliest days of Israel’s defensive actions against Hamas after the savage Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

Ziv lit the first Chanukah candle and then spoke about his experiences with B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Director Alan Schneider.

In the days following the Hamas attack on Israel, Ziv and his wife discussed his next steps in joining a military unit. Ziv’s wife told him: “There is something bigger than us going on now. I support you.”

On a mission in Gaza, three missiles were shot at his tank. “A missile hit me in my face,” Ziv said.

A fellow soldier picked him up and carried him to safety. Ziv, along with nearby soldiers, thought he was dying.

He clasped his hands together on the rescue helicopter to feel for his wedding ring. “I touched my ring and said ‘I’m alive.’”

Ziv has lost an eye and suffered other injuries. Still, he is refusing to let his injuries break his soul. He says he will “choose life. I choose to look on the full cup…I’m here. I’m alive. My wife and kids have me.”

On the 5th night of Chanukah, B’nai B’rith hosted the family of Matan Lior who was murdered by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 at the Nova festival. At Matan’s gravesite, his family lit the Menorah candles, recited the blessings and then spoke with B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Director Alan Schneider about Matan.

Schneider noted the inscription on Matan’s grave read in part, “The music of your life is untimely silenced.”

Matan’s father said, “Matan loved life. Matan loved music. Matan loved people. Matan was a giver. Matan was like a shamash on Chanukah. He lit the darkness around him.”

Both his parents noted how Matan always volunteered to help people who needed help, that he was a giver. His mother said of him, “If someone needed help, he was the first person to do it. This is Matan.”

They said that Matan, who was working the sound system at the festival, stood on the stage to direct people to safety as Hamas attacked, and that his actions saved 100 people.

His father said, “He was murdered by evil forces,” at a festival that was about peace, love, giving and loving life and loving people.

His family noted that his university professors told them that Matan was so bright and always challenged them with his thinking.

Looking to the future, his parents said that for Matan, they will continue to be happy. “We decide to keep the life, and we know that Matan doesn’t want us to be sad people. We want to continue his way. To be happy.”

On the 6th night of Chanukah, B’nai B’rith lit candles with Gal Gilboa-Dalal whose brother Guy remains hostage in Gaza. The brothers’ extended family joined to light candles. Then B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Director Alan Schneider talked to Gal, who himself survived the murderous Hamas attack on the Nova festival.

Gal said when he joined his brother and friends at the festival on Oct. 7, they were all so happy. But very soon after he arrived, the missiles started. They soon realized they should leave. Gal and his brother Guy were in different cars and they soon became separated. They spoke once as they were both escaping. The next time Gal tried to call, Guy didn’t answer.

Gal ran and hid, ran and hid, for eight hours until his rescue by local police.

While he was running and hiding, his family had already seen video of Guy being abducted by Hamas terrorists.

“I lost friends there [at Nova]. But right now I have one target and that is bringing my brother home,” Gal said.

Gal has taken part in various delegations to the United States to bring attention to the plight of the hostages. He says they are working to get as much attention as they can to bring home all of the hostages as fast as they can.

Two very disturbing videos, created as Hamas propaganda, were shown during the program. One with Guy in the back of a truck, hands bound, along with other hostages, likely soon after his abduction. And another, recorded later, of Guy with other hostages, likely from their location of captivity inside a Hamas tunnel.

Gal said his only focus now is getting his brother back. “I have to fight for my brother.” Raising awareness is what he’s focusing on. “That is the least we can do for him right now. That is what my focus is.”

Schneider asked Gal how he was taking care of himself during this time. “When my brother comes back I will focus on myself,” Gal said.

On the 7th night of Chanukah, B’nai B’rith lit menorah candles at the Youth of Light Farm rehabilitation center with Bar Chinitz, a survivor of Hamas’ attacks at the Nova music festival. Bar spoke with B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Director Alan Schneider about surviving the attacks and coping with the experience through community support at the center.

Bar was enjoying the high-energy atmosphere at the peaceful festival when his time was abruptly interrupted by missiles unleashed by Hamas terrorists in the early hours of the morning. Amid the hysteria, Bar managed to escape the festival grounds, dodging gunfire by running into a field surrounding the area. He took refuge in shrubbery for a half-hour until an IDF officer guided him and other attendees to safety.

Bar later discovered through a video released by Hamas that his friend Noa Argamani, who had served in the army with Bar, was kidnapped on the very field he had run through to escape.

For the last several weeks, Bar has been receiving therapy several times a week from the community at the Youth of Light Farm, a volunteer-led treatment center in Rishpon for survivors of the festival attacks. The center offers support from therapy professionals. “What’s happening here at the facility—it’s amazing,” Bar said. “It’s really helping the situation to heal. It’s all happening in one place with a lot of love and empathy.”

Several survivors who, like Bar, sought refuge in the bushes on Oct. 7 now attend the rehabilitation center. Bar later discovered that he and one of the survivors, who hid together, have little brothers who happen to be best friends. Bar hopes that IDF soldiers will seek out the resources at the rehabilitation center after returning from war.

Bar is traveling to Prague at the end of the month as a guest of B’nai B’rith to take part in the World Union of Jewish Students’ Congress, where he hopes to spread the message of unity.

“We need your support around the world right now more than ever in the Jewish community,” Bar said.

On the 8th night of Chanukah, B’nai B’rith lit candles with Eran Sasson from Moshav Netiv HaAsara, a Moshav on the northern border with Gaza that he says the residents have always described as “95% heaven and 5% hell. So on Oct. 7 hell broke out.”

Eran and his family lived there for about 14 years, among the 1,000 residents and about 300 families.

Living at the border with Gaza, Eran said “We pretty much know the sounds. But on the 7th of October it was something totally different. It was so massive. So loud. New weapons we didn’t encounter before. So we went into the shelter.”

For more than 10 hours, Eran, along with his wife and two of his three children (the oldest was at the Nova music festival), huddled in the safe room of their home. They heard many gunshots over that time.

“20 people were murdered, three of them are close friends of mine.”

“My kids were really frightened. My wife was really frightened. It was hell.”

Eran described how he heard gun fighting, grenades and bomb bricks. Residents were texting through the community WhatsApp group, saying “they are in my house…and they are trying to open the door.” And then silence.

“Fortunately, we are alive. But we lost many, many friends.”

Eran and his family, along with many in his community, were evacuated to a hotel near Tel Aviv, where they remain. “It’s pretty hard from a village, a Moshav, village style life, to go into a hotel for two months and God knows for how long we will stay here.”

Short term, he does not see any way to go back.

See the candle lighting and interviews here.