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Hanna and Michah Cohen - Kibbutz Nir Oz

Hanna and Micah Cohen have lived on Nir Oz for 40 years.

When we met Hanna, she told us that for many years she was a special education teacher, and how, more than once, she accompanied the kibbutz children on buses under missile alarm warnings. 

Hanna received the first menorah from her grandmother Malka, 40 years ago, to celebrate Hanukkah. This gift started a tradition of collecting menorahs and after the first three, Hanna decided to cover an entire wall with menorahs. The collection slowly grew through the years. On October 7 there were 30 menorahs on the wall.

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It was Inbal, Hanna's daughter, who over the years assembled the menorahs on the wall, a source of family pride which helped them preserve many family memories.

Hanna says that she was always afraid of terrorists entering the kibbutz, and that this fear is probably what made her equip the MAMAD (safe room) for the possibility that anything could happen.

On that horrific Saturday, when the terrorists entered her house, they were unable to break into the MAMAD (safe room) where the family was hiding, and then began looting the house.

Around 8:30 am, Micah, Hanna's husband, decided to leave the MAMAD (safe room). He made himself coffee and while looking out the kitchen window he saw dozens of terrorists on bicycles and motorcycles. He went back into the MAMAD (safe room) and it was then that he and Hanna heard the terrorists inside their home shouting, smashing, throwing, pounding and drilling

They could not imagine, in those moments, that the drilling noises were as a result of the terrorists tearing up and smashing the wall of menorahs.

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After long hours in the MAMAD (safe room), when they were finally rescued, they were confronted with the reality of the destruction that was waiting outside, the broken pieces and ruins of their home. However, they did not notice that the menorah wall was almost empty with only one menorah remaining.  

Hanna and Micah were rescued together with other survivors from the kibbutz and were taken to Eilat.

After several months, Hanna's phone rang from an unknown number, and on the other end of the line, an army reserve soldier called Yehoideh introduced himself. He said that he found the candlesticks from the collection that was hanging on her wall, on a dresser next to a terrorist's bed. Yehoideh offered to bring the menorah to their new home in Carmei Gat, and so it was.

Hanna tells us that she still did not feel that she was able to visit her home in Nir Oz.

Together with Hanna, Maya began renewing the only menorah that remained on the wall in Nir Oz,

next to the candlesticks that Yehoida brought from the depths of Gaza. The renewed menorahs are displayed in a wooden frame.

Hanna repeatedly says she is dealing with many unresolved issues. She continues to ask herself questions every day and is unable to find answers. She finds it hard to understand the logic of what happened that Shabbat.

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