Narkis Hand, 54, was murdered by Hamas terrorists in her home in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7.
Family members said that her body was found on the kibbutz near her mother’s house, after they believed she climbed out the window of her own home and tried to flee, but was shot dead. Hand’s mother, Simcha, survived.
Hand, a native of the kibbutz, is survived by her adult son Eden and daughter Natali, whom she had with her ex-husband Tom Hand, mother Simcha, as well as her siblings.
She also helped raise 9-year-old Emily Hand, the daughter of her ex-husband from his subsequent second marriage, whose mother died when she was a toddler. Emily was kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 and released on November 25.
“My mother was a really wonderful woman,” Natali told the La’Isha magazine. “Very sensitive, very empathetic — she did everything for me. Just a perfect mother.”
Natali said that when Emily’s mother died of cancer, “My mother didn’t think it was OK for a girl that age to live without a mother… Emily would sleep sometimes with dad and sometimes with mom, she had her own room and closet at mom’s house too,” said Natali, noting that Narkis also helped her with schoolwork since Tom, a non-Jewish Irish native, did not read or speak Hebrew.
“Emily remembers her biological mother, but she really loved my mother and saw her as a second mother. She would call her ‘Kisi,'” recalled Natali.
Tom Hand told AP that “Emily loved cooking so Emily and Natali would cook together. Narkis really became Emily’s second mother. Even Narkis’s mother, she became a second grandmother.”
Friends and family recalled Narkis as a lover of dance, devoted and caring mother, and travel aficionado.
Her friend Liraz Sheffer Hadaf recalled sitting on Narkis’s balcony “for coffee and gossip” just a day before the October 7 onslaught.
“We had plans to travel around the world for at least the next decade,” she wrote. “I’m not sure I can make all our plans come true without you. I miss you.”
An obituary for Hand posted on the Kibbutz Be’eri website described her as a “caring mother whose children were very close to her. Taking care of Natali and Eden filled her life with joy and meaning,” and she also took close care of her mother as well as her aunt as they aged.
“Narkis surrounded herself with all of her family and she was the go-to address for everyone,” the kibbutz obituary read. “But she didn’t forget herself, and she returned to dance with the teacher who taught her in her youth, for her body and for her soul — which remained the soul of a dancer.”
“Narkis, you will be missed by us so much. We, the members of Kibbutz Be’eri who survived the horror, will remember you always as wonderfully as you were, we will try to walk in your footsteps and immortalize the values that you stuck to your whole life, until your death.”