hersh goldberg polin
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Over four months ago, on Oct. 7, 2023, 23-year-old American-Israeli Hersh Goldberg-Polin hid with his childhood friend, Staff. Sgt. Aner Shapira, along with 29 other young people, in a tiny roadside bomb shelter as Hamas terrorists stormed the Supernova music festival in southern Israel. At dawn, rockets went off, and armed terrorists descended upon the Negev desert from motorized paragliders.

That day, the Hamas terrorists massacred some 1,200 people in Israel, including 367 of the over 3,000 people who attended the festival. Goldberg-Polin sent his mother, Rachel Goldberg, two text messages that morning. One said, “I love you,” and the next said, “I’m sorry.” In a recent phone interview, Goldberg told Fox News Digital, “He was just starting his life. We pray to God he’s going to come home.”

It’s her faith that’s kept her going through the hardest of times, she revealed in a sometimes emotional interview. Goldberg and her husband live in Israel (they were both born and raised in Chicago). They have three children; Their son Hersh was born in California. The family moved to Israel when he was nearly eight years old. She’d seen her son in Jerusalem the night before the act of terrorism, at a Shabbat dinner after synagogue, Goldberg recounted. “Around 11 p.m., he kissed me, and he kissed my husband, and he said, ‘Love you guys. See you tomorrow.’

She learned the grim details of what happened to her son and his friend from four survivors who were trapped beneath dead bodies in the same bomb shelter as her son. When the terrorists threw hand grenades into the shelter, Shapira heroically threw seven of them back out. But the eighth exploded in his hands — killing him. More grenades were tossed into the shelter, and gunfire went off. Eighteen people were murdered in that rampage alone. Terrorists wielding machine guns then ordered Hersh Goldberg-Polin and two other wounded young men into a pickup truck outside.


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When Goldberg-Polin stood up, survivors reported seeing that his left arm had been blown off from the elbow down. Rachel Goldberg and her husband, Jon Polin, later saw video footage from the festival of their son getting into the truck. The distraught mother added, “We have been living in a different universe since.” The last cellphone signal from her son’s phone was at 10:25 a.m. that Saturday, she said. Rachel Goldberg is modern Orthodox. She credits her faith and her relationship with God for helping her persevere through the emotional pain, fear and uncertainty she is experiencing.

“When you’re a believer, hope is mandatory,” she said. She recites the Modeh Ani prayer upon awakening to show her gratitude to God, she told Fox News Digital. Goldberg believes the hostage situation in Gaza is a global humanitarian crisis, she said, and that freeing the captives is the most important mitzvah (commandment), according to Jewish tradition. She said that even if it’s scary to get involved, “there’s a moment in everyone’s life where it’s time to stand up and be brave. In a crisis, that’s when really who you are comes out, and it’s when who you are will be remembered.”

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