Rabbi Mendi Klein of Chabad of Eilat was visiting patients in a local hospital when he saw a familiar face running towards him and gave him a huge bear hug.

“Rabbi Mendi! My son needs to say Birkat Hagomel!” the traditional blessing made on escaping life-threatening situations.

The man’s son had just arrived in Eilat from the music festival in the Re’im forest. The young man had spent hours laying on the ground surrounded by the dead bodies of his friends and fellow festival-goers. Miraculously, he survived and felt the need to show gratitude to G‑d.

Rabbi Klein hugged him and invited him into the hospital synagogue to say the special blessing. That’s when the young man pointed to a group of friends in their 20s who had survived along with him.

“It’s impossible to describe how they looked,” says Klein. “They had just escaped the most unimaginable of horrors. They were pale, their faces like glass.”

In an incredibly moving moment, the group took over the hospital synagogue, and one by one, the young boys and girls recited the blessing:

“Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, ruler of the world, who rewards the undeserving with goodness, and who has rewarded me with goodness.”

And everyone in the room tearfully responded:

“May He who rewarded you with all goodness reward you with all goodness for ever.”

“It’s impossible to describe how they looked,” says Klein. “They had just escaped the most unimaginable of horrors. They were pale, their faces like glass.”
“It’s impossible to describe how they looked,” says Klein. “They had just escaped the most unimaginable of horrors. They were pale, their faces like glass.”

After each young man recited the blessing, the rabbi walked to the mechitza separating the men and women in the synagogue and parted the curtain. The young women who survived the massacre then said the blessing.

They sat down together with the rabbi and cried. Some shared their stories; in between tears, they described the horrors they witnessed and spoke about friends who were missing.

It was a moment of solace amid the darkness, with an unshakable faith in G‑d and hope in a future filled with good.

For more information, inspiration and insights on the Gaza War visit Chabad.org’s Israel at War home page, which includes 7 Things You Can Do for Israel Now and instructions on how to Donate to the Israel Emergency Relief Fund.