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My Daughter Was Killed on October 7; Here Is My Message to the World

The personal belongings of festival-goers are seen at the site of an attack on the Nova Festival by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Oct. 12, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Hannie Ricardo’s daughter, Oriya, was murdered on October 7, 2023, at the massacre at the Nova Music Festival. Below is an edited version of a speech that Hannie delivered to mark Yom Hazikaron and Mother’s Day — her first without Oriya.

Since I was a young girl, I have been invited to participate in memorial ceremonies — to read a poem or to sing a song. For many years, I have stood with parents who lost their dear ones, holding their hands and supporting them.

I am taking part in this memorial ceremony today for the first time in my life as אמא שכולה, a mother who lost the most precious thing in life — my daughter.

I dedicate my words today in memory of my beloved Oriya, who gave me 26 years of light, love and happiness, and to her close friends, the couple Sharon Refai and Shahar Manzur, and the brave Eli Refael, Sharon’s brother who came to rescue them and he, too, was murdered with them; and in memory of Roya and Norrelle Manzuri, Ron Zarfati, Ron Yehudai, the best friends Mapal Adam and Hilly Solomon, Omri Aharak, Yarden Buskila, and all the beautiful people who were brutally murdered on October 7, at the Nova Music Festival.

Never again — the couplet of words I heard since my childhood — have become, since the October 7 massacre, a concept empty of content. Now more than ever, we must fill it up with stronger content.

Never again means that we, as Jews, must be united in the understanding that we are here by right and not by grace, not by the grace of people, nor other religions, or the shameless UN, which gives the impression that its entire role is to lend a hand to the haters of the Jewish people, whomever they are.

Never again means to stop apologizing for our existence or making excuses for anything we do to keep our nation striving and flourishing — and above all, protecting ourselves.

Never again means that no rabbi tells his students to hide their Judaism because he is afraid of violent mobs, as many did in Nazi Germany and its affiliates.

Never again is to make your voice heard individually and in a group.

Never again means that it is time to take responsibility, face the voices calling for our destruction, and fight this in any way possible.

Never again. It means you do not ignore the signs before you, or dismiss them as “it will pass” — because they will not, unless you do something.

Never again means you recognize and understand that Islamic terrorism is the Nazi oppressor of the 21st century, and all those students, professors, and their ardent supporters are just like Hitler’s “Brown Shirts,” who controlled the streets with terror and extreme violence, using the Jews as an excuse.

Never again. I used to say that every time I thought of my ancestors that were victims of Jew-hatred under the Nazi occupation, and were gassed and burnt in Auschwitz. Never again, I tell myself, every time I break to pieces, knowing I have lost my daughter to Jew-hatred and Islamic terrorists who murdered her only because she was a Jew.

Jew hatred is a whitewashed word for antisemitism — and we need to stand as one against it.

Anti-Israel, anti-Zionism, and anti-whatever are all the same, and they all call for the annihilation of the Jewish people. They are calling for genocide — our genocide.

I’m standing here today, with pain and agony, with my heart bleeding — but I’m standing, and I’m calling all of you to stand up, stand tall, and call, loudly and clearly, so the whole world will hear and understand: Never again.

Every day at the Nova exhibition, I hear people say: we will never forget. I correct them: you have to be active. Not to forget is passive. You need to remember, and you have to remind. I know I will do that for as long as I live.

And I will end with the words I chose to end the Oratorio Kaddish Oriya and Terezin, which I wrote and dedicated to Oriya, and which will be premiered on October 7, 2024, at the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv:

אוריה, האם את שומעת? זאת אני, אלייך קוראת. אמא מתגעגעת, ותפילה אלייך נושאת.

עשי שלום עלינו, אוריה, שלום עלינו ועל כל ישראל, ונאמר אמן

And I will repeat in English so everyone can understand:

Oriya, can you hear me? It is me, calling you. Mom misses you and carry a prayer to you:

Make peace upon us, Oriya, upon us and all of Israel, and we shall say Amen.

Hannie Ricardo is an Israeli musician, historian, and educator. She has a Master’s degree in Jewish History, focusing on Holocaust studies, and has studied singing privately in Israel, Italy, and Germany. She has performed as a singer in festivals and private events in Israel, Europe, the Far East, and the US.

The post My Daughter Was Killed on October 7; Here Is My Message to the World first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing

The University of Toronto is now seeking a court injunction to put and end to the encampment in King’s College Circle after the 8 a.m. deadline passed Monday morning—while unionized workers joined students, faculty and other protesters at a rainy morning rally. Shortly after the ultimatum hour, the university announced in a statement from UofT […]

The post University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire

Mayor Olivia Chow was among those who addressed the crowd.

The post Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Chatsworth, South Africa, May 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South African Jewish leaders castigated their country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, for what they described as him calling for a “genocide” against Jews in Israel over the weekend.

Ramaphosa was speaking at an election rally in Johannesburg on Saturday when he deviated from his prepared speech to lead the crowd in in a chant of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be free” — a popular slogan among anti-Israel activists that has been widely interpreted as a call for the destruction of the Jewish state, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The address took place at FNB Stadium, where South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) held its final rally before South African elections on Wednesday. According to Politicsweb, a news website focused on South Africa, a call for the release of the “hostages held in Gaza” who Hamas terrorists kidnapped from southern Israel on Oct. 7 appeared in Ramaphosa’s prepared remarks but not in his final speech.

The South African Jewish community lambasted Ramaphosa for his remarks in a statement shared with The Algemeiner, expressing “its revulsion at the introduction of a call to exterminate Jews from their homeland” by the president.

“The president of the ruling ANC party and the head of state of a democratic country has called for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the culmination of the ANC president’s election speech made to thousands of ANC members and on national television,” said Wendy Kahn, national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). “He uses the populist slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free,’ which is widely regarded as a call to genocide of the Jewish people. The call to remove all Jews from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea equates to removing all Jews from Israel.”

Kahn compared the slogan with Hamas’ goal to “see Israel as ‘Judenfrei,’ or Jew free,” before noting that such an endpoint contradicts the South African government’s stated policy of supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The chanting of this slogan by a head of state of a government that recurrently tries to express their commitment to a ‘two-state Solution’ as their policy on Israel and Palestine is hypocritical to the full,” the SAJBD said. “How does a sitting president reject his own government and own party’s international relations policy? This reconfirms our understanding that President Ramaphosa and his government are not looking for a peaceful solution to the tragic conflict, but rather to cause discord among fellow South Africans against its Jewish community.”

Kahn added, “The president’s contempt for South African Jewry is evident in this unscripted outburst at the rally which amounts to nothing more than Jew hatred. The SAJBD is reviewing its options for holding the president accountable for these hateful words.”

South Africa’s ANC government has been one of the harshest critics of Israel since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists launched the ongoing war in Gaza with their invasion of and massacre across southern Israeli communities.

South Africa temporarily withdrew its diplomats from Israel and shuttered its embassy in Tel Aviv shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom, saying that the Pretoria government was “extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians” in Gaza.

In December, South Africa hosted two Hamas officials who attended a government-sponsored conference in solidarity with the Palestinians. One of the officials had been sanctioned by the US government for his role with the terrorist organization.

Earlier this month, members of South Africa’s Jewish community protested Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor’s recent call for students and university leaders to intensify the anti-Israel demonstrations that have engulfed college campuses across the US.

In January, the South African government failed in its bid to argue before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel’s defensive war in Gaza constituted a “genocide.” However, the top UN court last week ordered Israel to halt its military operations against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The emergency ruling was part of South Africa’s ongoing case at the ICJ.

The post ‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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