Morris County Welcomes Israeli Survivors

By Evan Wechman

 

The October 7th attack in Israel by Hamas has had a terrible effect on Jews all over the world.  Not only did many Israelis lose loved ones, but it has fueled antisemitism both abroad and in the United States.

 

This tragedy has brought about significant acts of valor from Israeli natives in temples and community halls throughout the state.

 

This is due to the newly formed organization, The Faces of October Seventh.  It was formed by Dar Halevy Feldman who was in Israel during the horrific attack.  She has been mainly in Morris County the last few weeks, educating the public about her experience.

 

Feldman, who has been a director of Hillel at several universities in California, has seen firsthand the acts of hatred towards her community both here and in Israel.

 

She is not surprised by the wave of antisemitism that has been moving across college campuses.

 

“Antisemitism has been in the universities for a while now. All the misinformation that is occurring is not surprising,” she says.

 

As the leader for The Faces of October Seventh, she is hoping to educate both Jews and others about the hate they have been receiving.

 

“I was in Israel October 7th, and it was very scary, and October 8th was scary as well because the reaction of the world was terrible,” Feldman says.  “I was worried and felt like I had to do something.”

 

Feldman took the initiative of forming her organization which is comprised of Israeli volunteers who have brought approximately 14 survivors of that horrible night to speak to Americans about their experience.

 

One of the more prominent speakers is Daniel Dvir who has spoken at dozens of synagogues such as the Chabad of Morristown.  The temple welcomed Dvir with open arms as she spoke about attending the concert with friends and then, fortunately, surviving the atrocities of that evening.

 

Dvir, who has lost loved ones from that night, continues to display strength, courage, and even humor to help her deal with the trauma.

 

She can talk about parts of her escape from Hamas which bonds her instantly to fellow Jews in America.

 

“While I was running in the field, my mom called me, asked me who I am with, and when I said I was alone, she starts screaming like any Jewish mom, so I hung up,” Dvir says.

 

However, as much as she can use humor to alleviate the pain, she is fully aware of her near-death experience.

 

“At some point when I was hiding in the tree for like 30 minutes, there was a moment of silence.  For a full minute, the automatic gun shuts stopped.  It was super weird because it hadn’t stopped since they attacked us two hours ago.  I thought they killed everyone.,” Dvir says.

 

Such honesty has brought change for non-Jews as well.  According to Feldman, after one of the receptions recently, a woman admitted her parents had raised her to hate Jewish people.  She was even taught the Holocaust never happened.

 

However, from listening to Dvir, she said she understands the truth now and is happy she has finally been educated.

 

If anyone is interested in speaking, hosting a talk, or can provide much needed funds for the organization to travel  the country to speak to others, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/faces-of-october-7th

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