Israeli soldier who visited Chabad of Orange County last month killed in recent attack

Orange County. Raz Mizrahi was among the victims of the attack on the Nova music festival in Israel.

| 25 Oct 2023 | 01:38

Last month, Chabad of Orange County, led by Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston, flew out two Israeli defense soldiers to share their experiences with over 150 women and teens at The Mega Sweet Challah Bake. The special guests, Raz Mizrahi and Eliyah Hrubi, who had been wounded during insurgent attacks several years ago and had recovered, shared accounts of their experience. Orange County teens presented the two soldiers with gifts and cards. Participants spoke, celebrated and danced with the visitors.

After a recent attack by Hamas on Israel, Burston was notified that Mizrahi was among the victims. The Jewish community learned that the person they just met was among the hundreds killed at the Nova music festival by Hamas militants.

“We need to have faith, be positive and add light to the world,” said Burston. “We need to follow Raz’s lead, who told us, ‘the enemy couldn’t shatter my spirit! I’m still standing, I’m still fighting and I’m more in love with Israel than ever before.’”

“Raz was so happy to share her story – by the end of the night we weren’t strangers, but family,” said Monroe resident Debra Smatt.

Orit Zabari, of Harriman, added, “Raz was inspirational and such a beautiful soul.”

Chabad Teen (CTeen) High School group met together to brainstorm fundraising ideas, with their goal of raising funds for a ballistic helmet and bullet proof vest for the Israel Defense Forces. That goal was accomplished in one day. Teens wrote letters to the Israel Defense Forces soldiers, packaged together with treats.

Chabad arranged a recent Friday night “Shabbat Unity Event” to offer support to the community during this challenging time, which included adding in Mitzvot (positive deeds, commandments) in honor of Raz and all those who are wounded or captured, and to honor those who’ve perished. Mitzvot for Israel included the opportunity to don tefillin, light Shabbat candles, give charity and enjoy a community Shabbat dinner.

Additional events are underway in honor of Raz’s memory and in hopes for peace in Israel. Chabad is raising emergency funds to help Israel. For more information on upcoming events and Chabad’s Israel emergency fund, call 845-782-2770, email or visit