Survivor recounts experience of Oct. 7 attack at event hosted by Chabad at UCLA
Maya Parizer, a survivor of a Hamas attack on the open-air Tribe of Nova music festival Oct. 7, is pictured. Parizer spoke at the Chabad House at UCLA on Thursday. (Brisa Muñoz/Daily Bruin)
Nov. 18, 2023 6:45 p.m.
A survivor of an Oct. 7 attack on a music festival in Israel spoke at an event hosted at Chabad House at UCLA on Thursday.
Speaker Maya Parizer shared her story at the 6 p.m. event, organized by Chabad at UCLA, which provides social, educational and spiritual guidance to Jewish students. Parizer discussed her recollections of the attack and answered questions from audience members. The event began with Rabbi Dovid Guervich, the co-director of Chabad, leading attendees in prayer.
According to the Associated Press, militant group and Palestinian political party Hamas attacked Israeli villages and the open-air Tribe of Nova music festival Oct. 7. It has continued its attacks on the region since then, resulting in what Israel’s foreign ministry estimates to be 1,200 deaths, according to Reuters. In response, Israel has launched a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip along with bombings and airstrikes, which the Hamas-run Health Ministry said has collectively killed over 11,000 people, according to AP.
Gurevich said Chabad at UCLA hosted Parizer to allow students to hear a firsthand account of the attack. He added that he hoped the talk would contextualize the news surrounding the 2023 Israel-Hamas war.
“People are very much interested in solidarity with what’s going on, to come out and support and find some measure of solace in everything that’s happening,” Gurevich said.
At the event, Parizer said she came to UCLA to give a face to the victims of the attack and raise awareness of it. She told audience members how she had attended the festival with friends and talked about how her group left the festival after missiles hit the site to take shelter in a nearby Israeli settlement.
“I’m here to tell you that we are real people, and what we suffered was real,” Parizer said in her speech. “We are the voices of our 270 friends who were slaughtered on Oct. 7.”
During the event, Parizer also answered questions from audience members about the Israeli response to the attack, antisemitism on college campuses and combating misinformation coming out of Israel and Palestine.
Tomer Shaked, a first-year psychology student, said attending the event was difficult for him because one of his family members is in the Gaza Strip.
“I personally have someone in Gaza right now, so it’s very hard for me to hear her (Parizer’s) point of view, too,” he said. “Understanding how she was able to survive gives me some hope that maybe my family member in Gaza is also still alive, and that’s why I’m here.”
He added that he feels the Jewish community at UCLA has been united by the news of the attacks.
Jonathan Radparvar, a first-year biology student, said he came to the event because he wanted to hear from someone who survived the Oct. 7 attacks. He added that he believes having a survivor of the attack give a firsthand account at UCLA might help combat misinformation surrounding what happened at the festival.
Radparvar also said he believes the spread of misinformation online – a problem that he thinks has worsened since the Oct. 7 attack – has contributed to antisemitic behaviors. For example, he said he has personally seen people make claims on social media that the attack did not happen.
Gurevich said he thinks many Jewish students have felt unsafe since the Oct. 7 attack and that his organization has recently increased security measures. He added that he feels Chabad’s role is to support Jewish students in the UCLA community.
“We’re here, in general, to support the Jewish students, faculty (and) administration,” he said. “When people are feeling unsafe as they are now, I feel it’s very important for us to provide that sense of anchor and belonging and community and safety as well.”