April 23, 2024

The Story of Kibbutz Be’eri

We all know what has been going on in Israel on a massive scale. We know about the over 1,000 people killed in the initial attack. Sometimes it’s helpful to look at things on a more granular level. At Colel Chabad, we look at each individual and provide what that person needs. Tonight, we would like to share with you the story of one of the kibbutzim that was attacked on October 7th. 
October 7, 2023 – the siren went off in the Gaza Envelope. The people of Kibbutz Be’eri ran to the bomb shelter and stayed there. They knew that not everyone had made it in but they also knew it may not be safe to go back outside. The residents of the kibbutz stayed in that shelter for up to 24 hours until the IDF arrived and told them it was safe to come out.
Those that didn’t make it to the shelter but survived witnessed and experienced utter devastation and unspeakable horrors, akin to those of the Holocaust. Over 110 people were killed in the attack.
When the army arrived, they immediately evacuated the survivors. They were told to gather some stuff as quickly as they could. There was nothing left to gather, Their homes had been destroyed and possessions burned to the ground. 
The residents of Kibbutz Be’eri arrived at the hotels with nothing but the shirts on their backs. The hotel provides shelter and food but that’s it. Many people had no shoes, no glasses, and no change of clothes.
That’s where Colel Chabad comes in. We undertook to provide these people with 5,000 shekel gift cards to pay for some basic goods. When we arrived, we expected 20 families to be staying at that particular hotel. However, there were funerals taking place. We met with 200 families that day and were able to speak with them and distribute the cards.
What’s interesting about these cards is that they originally came from Kibbutz Be’eri. Kibbutz Be’eri’s income is based on printing all plastic cards in Israel. They print our Eshel cards, credit cards, driver’s licenses, and all other types of cards. Right now, obviously, they are producing zero cards as their factory was damaged. It is a miracle that it was not completely destroyed. When it is safe, they will be able to return and continue using the factory as their income. We were able to repurpose the old surplus cards that we had for our new undertaking.
Every single person we gave a card to had a family member who was either killed or taken hostage. While these families would like to bury their loved ones in Kfar Azza, is it not safe right now so they are temporarily burying them in other places. 
Despite all they had endured, the residents of Kibbutz Be’eri were still happy and grateful to receive their cards. Israel is a resilient people.
These are not people who are on welfare. These are not people who generally need psychological help. These are regular normal people who just went through a horrific disaster. These cards are just the first step to helping them rebuild their lives.
Unfortunately, this story is not unique to Kibbutz Be’eri. Many of the Kibbutzim and Yishuvim in the South suffered similar attacks by Hamas on October 7th. But together, Am Yisrael will prevail.
We keep all the victims, hostages, and survivors in our prayers and thoughts.

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