web analytics
LifeSaver Award

Roei Shalev

ELEM has the great privilege of honoring Roei Shalev, a survivor from October 7th, with our LifeSaver Award. 

What follows is Roei’s story from October 7th. Please be advised about difficult content:

Before October 7th, I lived a life filled with love and purpose alongside my partner, Mapal. We worked together in a chef restaurant, and I also managed our family bakery.

But on October 7th, everything changed. Mapal, our best friend Hilly, and I arrived to the Nova Festival filled with joy and excitement, ready to dance and celebrate. Little did we know, our joy would soon turn into a nightmare.

At 6:29 PM, the sound of rocket fire shattered our evening. Instinctively, I grabbed the girls and attempted to flee, but chaos ensued. Bullets whizzed past us, grenades exploded nearby, and terror engulfed us from all directions. Realizing we were in grave danger; I urged the girls to hide under a nearby car while I joined them in hiding.

The terrorists recognized us. They got closer to us. And they shot the three of us: one bullet in each one of us.

For seven agonizing hours, we remained concealed, the girls lying lifeless beside me. I prayed fervently for our safety, hoping against all odds that help would arrive. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the army rescued me.

A week later, my beloved and dear mother couldn’t contain the pain and losses of October 7, and committed suicide. In just one week, I lost three of the most important women to me in the world.

That day was the darkest I’ve ever known. In the months that followed, I struggled to cope. Flashbacks and anxiety consumed me, and sleep became a distant memory. Yet, through therapy and the unwavering support of others, I found the strength to share my story.

I opened up on social media, laying bare the rawest details of my trauma. The response was overwhelming. Messages poured in from people who found solace and inspiration in my journey. Their words gave me purpose, a reason to keep fighting.

Today, I stand here uncertain of what the future holds, but one thing is clear: I must honor the memory of the three extraordinary girls who were taken from us too soon. I renamed my bakery “Mapal (Waterfall) Cafe” in tribute to my one and only love. We organized a commemorative basketball game, a testament to their vibrant spirits, and we organized a Marathon for Hilly.

But my mission doesn’t end there. I’m determined to help rebuild our community, to offer hope and support to those whose lives have been shattered by similar tragedies. And so, I humbly ask for your assistance. Together, we can make a difference. Whether through donations or spreading awareness, every act of kindness matters.

And amidst the pain and sorrow, I hold onto one truth: we will dance again. With your help, we’ll reclaim the joy that was stolen from us and build a brighter future for all.

Thank you ❤️