Rebuilding Lives: A Journey towards Healing and Hope

The aftermath of the Nova festival attack on 7 October has left survivors shattered and in desperate need of mental health support. Driven by a desire to help, Dr Lia Naor created a safe space where survivors can find solace and healing. Located in Rishpon, north of Tel Aviv, the sheltered outdoor setting provides a peaceful environment for survivors to connect with others who have gone through similar experiences. Volunteers dedicate their time to offer support and healing activities, such as workshops, massage sessions, and group music sessions.

The survivors, who were subjected to unimaginable violence, have been left emotionally and physically scarred. Dr Naor’s mission is to help them feel secure and rebuild their faith in themselves and others. The early days were challenging, with survivors displaying intense trauma and exhibiting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, through the efforts of dedicated volunteers, the atmosphere has transformed into one of healing and hope.

The community-driven initiative has attracted individuals from various backgrounds, all eager to contribute to the healing process. Donations from charities and businesses provide homemade meals, while survivors like Lior Gelbaum express their gratitude by distributing handmade silver necklaces to fellow survivors. Music, a vital part of their identity, plays a significant role in the healing journey. Survivors come together to dance and support one another, forging a sense of unity and shared emotion.

Nature is another integral aspect of the healing process. Survivors often take walks through the garden, surrounded by citrus trees and fragrant herbs. They pick leaves to create herbal teas, further immersing themselves in the calming effects of nature. To accommodate the growing number of visitors, new rustic tents are being built.

Professional clinical psychologists are present daily, offering a listening ear to survivors. Dr Itamar Cohen, one of the psychologists, emphasizes the immense pain survivors have endured and the urgency to process their trauma. Survivors grapple with grief, survivor’s guilt, and questions of worthiness. The presence of other therapists provides a space for mutual support, where challenges, vulnerabilities, and fears can be worked through and strength can be cultivated.

The significance of Dr Naor’s initiative cannot be understated. Survivors who originally lacked a support system now have a community where they can heal together. As they learn to believe in themselves and others once more, the darkness they experienced at the Nova festival is gradually being replaced by the light of resilience and hope.