My Daughter Was Killed on October 7; Here Is My Message to the World

May 16, 2024 | History, Voices

Hannie Ricardo’s daughter, Oriya, was murdered on October 7, 2023, at the massacre at the Nova Music Festival. Below is an edited version of a speech that Hannie delivered to mark Yom Hazikaron and Mother’s Day — her first without Oriya.

Since I was a young girl, I have been invited to participate in memorial ceremonies — to read a poem or to sing a song. For many years, I have stood with parents who lost their dear ones, holding their hands and supporting them.

I am taking part in this memorial ceremony today for the first time in my life as אמא שכולה, a mother who lost the most precious thing in life — my daughter.

I dedicate my words today in memory of my beloved Oriya, who gave me 26 years of light, love and happiness, and to her close friends, the couple Sharon Refai and Shahar Manzur, and the brave Eli Refael, Sharon’s brother who came to rescue them and he, too, was murdered with them; and in memory of Roya and Norrelle Manzuri, Ron Zarfati, Ron Yehudai, the best friends Mapal Adam and Hilly Solomon, Omri Aharak, Yarden Buskila, and all the beautiful people who were brutally murdered on October 7, at the Nova Music Festival.

Never again — the couplet of words I heard since my childhood — have become, since the October 7 massacre, a concept empty of content. Now more than ever, we must fill it up with stronger content.

Never again means that we, as Jews, must be united in the understanding that we are here by right and not by grace, not by the grace of people, nor other religions, or the shameless UN, which gives the impression that its entire role is to lend a hand to the haters of the Jewish people, whomever they are.

Never again means to stop apologizing for our existence or making excuses for anything we do to keep our nation striving and flourishing — and above all, protecting ourselves.

Never again means that no rabbi tells his students to hide their Judaism because he is afraid of violent mobs, as many did in Nazi Germany and its affiliates.

Never again is to make your voice heard individually and in a group.

Never again means that it is time to take responsibility, face the voices calling for our destruction, and fight this in any way possible.

Never again. It means you do not ignore the signs before you, or dismiss them as “it will pass” — because they will not, unless you do something.

Never again means you recognize and understand that Islamic terrorism is the Nazi oppressor of the 21st century, and all those students, professors, and their ardent supporters are just like Hitler’s “Brown Shirts,” who controlled the streets with terror and extreme violence, using the Jews as an excuse.

Never again. I used to say that every time I thought of my ancestors that were victims of Jew-hatred under the Nazi occupation, and were gassed and burnt in Auschwitz. Never again, I tell myself, every time I break to pieces, knowing I have lost my daughter to Jew-hatred and Islamic terrorists who murdered her only because she was a Jew.

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And I will end with the words I chose to end the Oratorio Kaddish Oriya and Terezin, which I wrote and dedicated to Oriya, and which will be premiered on October 7, 2024, at the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv:

אוריה, האם את שומעת? זאת אני, אלייך קוראת. אמא מתגעגעת, ותפילה אלייך נושאת.

עשי שלום עלינו, אוריה, שלום עלינו ועל כל ישראל, ונאמר אמן

And I will repeat in English so everyone can understand:

Oriya, can you hear me? It is me, calling you. Mom misses you and carry a prayer to you:

Make peace upon us, Oriya, upon us and all of Israel, and we shall say Amen.

Hannie Ricardo is an Israeli musician, historian, and educator. She has a Master’s degree in Jewish History, focusing on Holocaust studies, and has studied singing privately in Israel, Italy, and Germany. She has performed as a singer in festivals and private events in Israel, Europe, the Far East, and the US.

View this The Algemeiner Report from May 16th