update deskIsrael at War

30 Israeli orphans, including Oct. 7 victims, heal in Mexico

“We are witnesses to the solidarity that characterizes the Jewish people,” said Isidoro Sirazi, president of the Magen David Mexico Community.

Israelis who lost both parents on Oct. 7 find healing in Mexico. Photo by Yakir Asaraf.
Israelis who lost both parents on Oct. 7 find healing in Mexico. Photo by Yakir Asaraf.

A group of 30 orphaned Israelis recently returned from a 13-day healing retreat in Mexico.

The trip, arranged by the Jerusalem-based OneFamily organization in partnership with the Jewish community of Mexico City, brought together orphans of all ages who lost both parents to terrorism, including during the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, along with their adopted families.

Among the participants were 8-year-old Tilly, her aunt Elisa and Elisa’s children. An only child, Tilly was at home with her parents when terrorists infiltrated their community near Gaza on Oct. 7. 

The terrorists broke into her house and murdered her mother and father. When neighbors finally arrived to rescue Tilly, they found her mother in front of the closet where the girl was hiding, having bled to death trying to protect her daughter.

Elisa, who also lost a brother years earlier during his military service, adopted her orphaned niece. The past nine months have brought significant challenges as she helped Tilly settle into a new life while coping with her own healing process.

“Your experiences marked by pain and sadness are also testimonies of resilience, hope, and the incredible capacity of human beings to overcome adversity,” said Isidoro Sirazi, president of the Magen David Mexico Community.

“All of us here are witnesses to the solidarity that characterizes the Jewish people, and this project is further proof of it. The entire community is here to give you honor, affection, hope and a big hug,” he added.

Mexico City resident Frieda Tuachi joined the group for Shabbat in Cancun.

“You helped me see that after so much loss and pain, it is possible to feel joy again, to live again. Despite your irreversible loss, I hope you understand that you have family in every corner of the world. You are my brothers and sisters,” she said.

Ella Danon, a trained therapist and OneFamily staff member, accompanied the group. She said the trip is just the beginning of a lifelong connection with the participants.

“This intense, extraordinary experience gave us an opportunity to get to know each other in a deep, vulnerable and real way. These bonds are for life. I check in with everyone weekly, and with some daily,” Danon said.

Vicki Jan, whose parents were killed in a 2011 terrorist attack, participates in a sneaker painting workshop with orphans from Oct. 7 in Mexico. Photo by Yakir Asaraf.

Vicki Jan, who lost both parents and an aunt and uncle in a 2011 terrorist attack, joined the trip to offer, and receive, support.

“Being with the group brought me back to the early days of being an orphan. Their pain is still very fresh,” she said.

“The complex reality for an orphan whose parents were killed made this trip abroad very liberating. Especially for those affected by October 7, it is difficult for them to disconnect in Israel. A week like this is equivalent to a year of therapy,” said Jan.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates