AVENTURA, FLA. (WSVN) - - Hundreds of people gathered in Aventura to hear the horror of Oct. 7 first hand, from a survivor of the massacre at the Tribe of Nova music festival.
Speaking at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center on Wednesday, Maya Parizar said the journey hasn’t been pretty, but she knows now the power of sharing her story.
“For some miracle, I know I got to be here and tell their story, honoring their lives,” she said as she wiped away a tear.
Music and massacre, two things that don’t have anything in common with each other, are Parizar’s reality now. She was one of 3,000 people who attended the open-air music festival in southern Israel.
“It’s been 24 days, and it feels like just a nightmare,” she said.
That nightmare, Parizar said, began around 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 7.
“I just remember looking up there in the sky and see what it felt like thousands of rockets and missiles,” she said.
That was her first sign to pack up and leave.
Parizar said she got in the car with her boyfriend and friends and started heading north. They passed kibbutzes along the way with fear in their hearts, as well as the intuition that something was very, very wrong.
“We see all these cars, abandoned on the side of the road, and not really understanding what this is all about,” she said.
The festivalgoers didn’t know the horror that they just escaped, only to see it had followed them to the peaceful kibbutz communities in southern Israel.
“We saw someone on the street, and that was the first time I saw someone dead in front of my eyes. He suffered from many injuries,” said Parizar.
All of a sudden, Parizar said, they found themselves under fire, as terrorists shot at them.
Parizar said they were able to escaped, only to find themselves surrounded by death coming up.
“We could smell what happened there. We saw some Israeli civilian holding a gun, signaling us to stop,” she said.
That civilian, Parizar said, was a walking miracle. He guided them to safety in his community, where they hid from Hamas.
But Parizar said she still feared the worst.
“I decided to call my parents and say goodbye,” she said.
Twenty-four hours, Parizar said, she left and headed north again to reunite with her family. But more than 260 other people at the festival didn’t get that luxury.
Parizar said some of her good friends sought shelter, only to have death and destruction lobbed at them.
“People died from the grenades, and all this time, these animals are outside taking selfies and enjoying every single moment,” she said.
This is just one more reason why Parizar doesn’t want people to forget every painful moment of Oct. 7.
“We need to tell the truth. We need to spread the word of what happened to our brothers and sisters,” said Ruthy Benoliel with the Women’s International Zionist Organization.
“This synagogue was built by Holocaust survivors, so we know what it takes to be able to tell your story,” said Rabbi Guido Cohen with the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, “and we are here to tell Maya that we’re here for them and with them.”
“October 7th cannot be forgotten,” said Parizar.
Parizar said she will continue to share her story across college campuses for the next week before she flies back to Israel to be with her friends and now fiancé.
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