An Israeli boy whose parents, two sisters and grandfather were murdered in the Hamas attack on his kibbutz will celebrate his bar mitzvah on Thursday.
Ariel Zohar of Kibbutz Nahal Oz was saved from the Oct. 7 massacre because he went out for a run.
His father, Yaniv Zohar, 54, mother, Yasmin, 49, and sisters Keshet, 18, and Tehelet, 20, were buried after a joint funeral in Rishon Letzion on Oct. 18.
He is now staying at his uncle’s home in the Tel Aviv suburb.
Zohar was able to recover two pairs of tefillin or phylacteries—the small black leather boxes with leather straps containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah and worn during weekday morning prayers—from his destroyed home.
The first pair was the one that his parents had bought him for his bar mitzvah, while the second, retrieved by a ZAKA search and rescue official at Zohar’s request, had been handed down to Zohar’s father from his surviving grandfather Marco, a Holocaust survivor whose own parents were murdered by the Nazis.
Chaim Otmazgin, who recovered the tefillin from the house, recounted the moving words that Zohar’s 90-year-old grandfather told his grandson: “My parents were murdered when I was 14. Today I have a grandson living in Israel! To you too, they did this to you when you were 12 years old. You too will have grandchildren in Israel!”
“Our message is the Nation of Israel lives,” Tomer Cohen, the boy’s uncle, told JNS on Tuesday.