My name is Orit Mark. I am from Otniel and grew up in a big, happy family. I have nine brothers and sisters. I am in the middle.
On 1 July, 2016, the unthinkable happened.
My parents went for a drive with two of my siblings. Terrorists met them on the way and shot more than 27 bullets at their car.
My father , Rabbi Michael ‘Mikki’ Mark was murdered, my mother Chavi was seriously injured, and my brother and sister were hurt.
My mother and father met when they were 13 years old. They were the perfect couple, so special and pure. They completed each other and now everything has changed. Forever.
Our mother and our father brought us up with values of respect, love and caring for others. My father was a rabbi and director of the Hesder yeshiva in Otniel. He had a unique and open mind. He greeted everyone with a smile and accepted everyone for who they were.
It still seems unreal that my father has gone. The week of the shiva was a chaotic week that seemed like it would never end. We were lucky to have so many special people visit us in our home, while my father watches all this beauty from up in the clouds. So special, so many people helped us, so many supported us, so many gave us strength. Among them, people from OneFamily. This amazing organization who has stood by us, taught us how to continue, how to continue the ways of our father and how to teach us about our own inner strengths.
The attack changed everything. Our lives will never be the same. My father is no longer with us and my mother, was so badly injured that she is unable to be the mother she once was. She was completed by my father and now she is slowly learning to cope on her own.
Our mother was in hospital in Israel for 3 months. She lost an eye in the attack and had to have many surgeries to her head and neck. She also then traveled to the US with my brother where she had several surgeries to her face and brain. She is a heroine.
Since the attack, my older sister and her husband has moved into our family home to look after the youngest in the family, even though our mother is now home, she unable to do what she used to for all of us.
We all make sure to spend Shabbat together, as when we are together, we feel that each of us has a part of father in us and his soul still lives on.
We are all different but our father taught us to respect our differences and be open minded. Our love and respect for each other is exactly what he would want- to support each other despite the differences.
Here too at OneFamily, I have met people from all walks of life. Religious and Irreligious. Young and Old, People from small towns like me and people from big cities like Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem. People who work high-tech to people who are stay home mothers and widows like my mom. Despite the differences, it gives me such strength that at OneFamily we all feel normal. It is the only place where I can feel true to myself, where in the same breath I can laugh and cry. It is a place where people truly understand me and accept me.
This experience has taught me that you don’t know what is going to happen to you from one day to the next- that life is unpredictable but despite all the difficulties in this new found reality, I have also learned to appreciate all the good in my life. And there is so much good. I love my family. I am now happily married. I enjoy seeing the beauty in the world around me. I am able to still laugh and smile. I take an optimistic approach and I know that is how my father would react too. He would still want us all to be happy.
For me, by being happy and seeing the good in life, I am winning my battle against the terrorists every single day.
It gives me so much strength to know there are people around the world who care about victims of terror and show their support. I take great strength in continuing the ways of my father and trying to continue lighting up the world in the same way that he did.