Those We Have Lost

Sgt. Shirel Mor, 19: Talented pianist with ‘a huge and pure soul’

Killed when Hamas terrorists overran the Nahal Oz IDF base on October 7

Sgt. Shirel Mor who was killed in Nahal Oz on October 7, 2023. (IDF)
Sgt. Shirel Mor who was killed in Nahal Oz on October 7, 2023. (IDF)

Sgt. Shirel Mor, 19, an observation soldier in the Border Defense Corps’s 414th unit, from Ra’anana, was killed when Hamas terrorists overran the Nahal Oz IDF base.

She was buried on October 12 in Ra’anana. She was described by her loved ones as a talented piano player, a lover of animals and wise beyond her years.

Mor is survived by her mother, Edna, father, Yuri, and siblings Ilana, Shalom, Michaela and Matanel.

Her mother, Edna, expressed great anger toward authorities over the failures that led to the killing of her beloved daughter.

“It wasn’t only Hamas who killed our children. It was the government, the decision-makers in the army, they were also accomplices,” she said in an interview with the Kan public broadcaster.

“I gave birth to a daughter, but I didn’t raise her — she was born mature and educated. A huge and pure soul, she came here for 20 years to educate us, me and her father and her older sister and older brother. She contributed so much at home, she was full of joy of life, she had everything,” her mother told Kan.

“She understood everyone, she never argued with anyone, she always pursued justice. When she would hear others speaking unkindly, she would stop them with a smile,” Edna added. “I had a daughter who was a psychologist from birth, modest and talented. She was beautiful but she never acknowledged that, once saying ‘There’s no reason to be proud of beauty, it passes with time, be proud of achievements.'”

Edna said her comrades on the IDF base “didn’t know she was a talented and professional piano player, only recently there was a piano in a train station and she started to play and they understood her talent. She was a hero. My mother fled Minsk at the time of the Second World War, and my daughter was murdered here in a holocaust.”

Her friend, Lior Tzadok, wrote on Instagram that they had met up just two weeks earlier: “I was at your house after a long time that I didn’t visit, we sat and we laughed, we spoke about your release from the army and the trip we would take afterward, and then we sat in your kitchen and ate from the pot of meatballs your mother made for the holiday.”

He continued: “My Shireli, you were everything to me, we told each other everything, without judging each other, the conversations we had I’ll never have with anyone else. You were so intelligent and sophisticated, you always knew how to say exactly the right thing, and you always knew how to support me. However beautiful you were on the outside, you were even more beautiful within.”

Ronit Galai Sankevitz, Shirel’s longtime piano teacher, shared a clip of her playing with Army Radio, saying that she started working with her when she was just 8 years old.

“A gifted musician, bursting with musicality, and a divine touch on the keys,” Galai Sankevitz described her. “She began her piano lessons with me at age 8, and through the creativity of the genius composers, she expressed her own sensitive and compassionate internal world… She persevered with her playing until her enlistment, and even in the few breaks she had at home, she continued to play and to practice — the piano gave her great joy.”

“And I — I was blessed with a talented student. I will miss her hugs, her playing, her outer beauty which matched her inner beauty,” she continued. “Perhaps if there is another universe, better than ours, more compassionate than ours, Shirel is there continuing to play the piano.”

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