Roee Fogel, whose mother Ruth, father Udi, and three of his siblings, Yoav (11), Elad (4) and Hadas (3 months) were murdered in their home in Itamar in 2011, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah today. And all of his counselors and the friends he met through OneFamily were there to rejoice along with him.
The festivities began at the Kotel where Roee was accompanied by his siblings, Tamar and Yishai, and his grandparents, Rabbi Yehuda and Tali Ben-Ishay, who have been raising him, his other grandparents, Chaim and Tsilla Fogel, and his aunts, uncles, and cousins.
From there, the party moved to a banquet hall for a festive breakfast. Roee’s friends, including a former counselor and his OneFamily Big Brother, came from across the country to bring him joy on his special day.
Caption: first picture, from left: Aron Lavi, whose father Nehemia was stabbed to death while Nehemia attempted to save another person from being stabbed; Israel Tawil and Shir Weiss, Roee’s counselors; Dror Weinberg, who bears the name of his father, who was killed before Dror was born rescuing Jews in the middle of a terrorist attack; Bar Mitzvah boy Roee Fogel; Roz Amrani, whose mother Sarit was killed in a terrorist shooting in 2001; Avrami Adler, Roee’s former counselor. Second picture: Roee delivering his Bar Mitzvah speech; his grandparents, Rabbi Yehuda and Tali Ben-Ishay, are at his side.
In a moving speech during the ceremony, Roee invoked the memory of his parents, and thanked them for making him who he is today. He also expressed deep gratitude to his grandparents, his siblings, his family, and all his friends who have been his side since the tragedy struck.
“When you don’t think of yourself as just being part of a family but as part of the whole Jewish people, then you’ll never be afraid of any challenge,” Roee told the audience. “We have to carry on as a strong Jewish nation.”
OneFamily wishes Roee and family only simchas in the future. We’re proud to be able to join him on his special occasion.