A Conversation with Survivors of the Nova Music Festival Attack


Am Echad, B’Lev Echad: Uniting in Heroism and Hope

By Michael Matsas and Mary Halabani


The Talmud states, “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh,” meaning all of Israel is responsible for each other. In the days following October 7th, Jews all over the world were horrified by the news stories of death and destruction. However, many stories of miracles and heroism are also emerging, showing that the sentiment of the Talmud is still alive today. On February 7th, four months after the attacks, The Sephardic Community Center hosted an event bringing two survivors of the Nova Music Festival attack to tell their stories and answer questions from the gathering. The event, named ‘At the Break of Dawn,’ moderated by Daniel Mael, provided a platform for Daniel and Neriya Sharabi, brothers and survivors, to share their experiences. Over 160 members of the community filled the auditorium. The event began with footage recounting the phone conversation with Daniel and the commander of his reserve company. Daniel and Neriya, following the commander’s directions, were able to fend off the terrorist attack with minimal guns and ammunition, using a destroyed tank as cover. Their quick thinking, medical training, and tactical assistance from the commander helped save dozens of lives. The brothers took charge, becoming the temporary commanding officers of the defense position, stating, “Whoever could fight, must fight. Whoever can treat the wounded, must treat. And everyone else must pray.” Under fire and seeking resources to protect themselves from terrorists shooting RPGs and small arms fire, they found guns and a minimal amount of ammunition. Unfortunately, the gun they found could not fire due to a technical issue. They needed lubrication to get the gun back in working order, but under fire behind the tank, none was to be found. The brothers asked if anyone had any cream or oil, and one woman had a tub of Vaseline. Neriya used Vaseline to repair the gun. They used that gun to shoot periodically at the oncoming terrorists, ensuring they knew they were still alive and preventing them from advancing on their position. “God sent the Maccabees oil for the miracle of the menorah, and He sent us a miracle tub of Vaseline to fix the rifle and save all those people’s lives.”

After recounting their ordeal, the brothers shared their reflections. “My faith in God saved me that day. When you imagine you’ll be saved, you’ll really believe in it. Be kind to each other. This is our nation,” they expressed.


Many struggle with how to cope with the lingering effects of this tragic day. In response, the brothers established a non-profit organization called ‘For the Survivors and the Wounded,’ offering therapeutic treatments for victims, day trips, as well as social, emotional, and employment rehabilitation. They express, “This is my therapy,” and urge others to contribute by sharing the story with everyone they know.

Although the brothers are praised as heroes, they do not believe they are heroes, stating, “The heroes are the ones who died that day. The medics who were killed, those who heroically fought and died, and those who were kidnapped are the heroes.” We are all saddened by the events of October 7th, but these stories of heroism and strength to overcome are at the core of the Jewish nation. We get knocked down, but we rise and fight for our friends, family, and even those we don’t know because we are Am Echad, B’Lev Echad, one nation with one heart.

Daniel and Neriya Sharabi, founders of the organization For the Survivors and the Wounded, express their thanks to everyone that attended the event. To learn more about their inspiring organization, click here.