ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Those We Have Lost

Rivka Ben Horin, 74, Yossi Gross, 75: Elders who found love again

Murdered in their homes in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7

Rivka Ben Horin (left) and Yossi Gross (Courtesy)
Rivka Ben Horin (left) and Yossi Gross (Courtesy)

Rivka Ben Horin, 74, and her partner Yossinio (Yosef) “Yossi” Gross, 75, were murdered by Hamas terrorists in their homes in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7.

Rivka, the child of Holocaust survivors, is survived by her three children, Lihi, Rami and Liora, and five grandchildren, Yonatan, Emil, Ashad, Tair and Liv. Yossi is survived by four of his children, Efrat, Dorit, Segev and Maayan, and many grandchildren. His son, Maoz, was killed in a tragic accident in June 2023.

Yossi’s ex-wife, Shifra Noy, was also murdered in Nir Oz on October 7.

Amid the destruction of the kibbutz, their families had to wait several weeks before their bodies were located and their deaths confirmed. Rivka was buried in Nir Oz on October 27. Yossi was buried on October 22 in Petah Tikva.

A post on the kibbutz Facebook page about Rivka noted that they would miss her “mobility scooter decorated with colorful children’s toys, which was used by both you and Yossi, as you called him during your beautiful days together in Nir Oz.” The kibbutz noted that she had arrived there as a young woman with a youth group, and over more than 50 years living there, worked in the local shop as well as the kibbutz laundromat, “taking care of our clothes with dedication: folding, ironing and repairs.”

The kibbutz noted that Rivka loved to create things with her hands, including “colorful stained-glass windows, mobiles out of different materials, unique patchwork which you created with great patience… The quilts which survived will cover babies yet to be born.”

A eulogy read at her funeral in the name of her son-in-law, Jehan Berman, stated, “Rivka, the waves you left behind you are wide and powerful, more than a mother-in-law, you were like a mother to me and a grandmother, with a big heart like the entire Jewish people.”

“I was the new lone soldier on the scene in Nir Oz, and you accepted me with a big and loving heart,” he said. “And the rest is a unique family story, full of emotion, drama, celebrations, love and compassion… You will stay forever in our hearts, and your legacy is eternal.”

A post from Nir Oz noted that Yossi came to the kibbutz as a young man, and returned in his later years to settle there again: “His image still appears before our eyes, walking back and forth, restless, across the dining room floor, a cigarette in the corner of his mouth — and he is ready to drive, to help, to provide service to someone. He is fully committed to one goal — to give personal service, sensitive and caring service to each and every person, through the love of his life — the steering wheel.”

At his funeral, his daughter, Dorit, recalled that her father had given each of their siblings unique nicknames, “which described us perfectly. You always told us that there were three most important things: don’t steal; don’t do drugs; and that we must always take care of each other as siblings.”

“Dad, I believe that we will continue in your path, to be good people, to believe in the State of Israel, to fall, to get up and to keep moving,” she said. “We are sure that you are raising a glass of chocolate liquor to our future. We love you.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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