Abigail Klein Leichman
December 14, 2023

As the sun rose on October 7, Hamas terrorists fired rockets on southern Israel and infiltrated Gaza border communities as well as the Supernova music festival where 4,000 young adults were spending the night in a field near Kibbutz Re’im. 

On that nightmare morning, approximately 360 attendees of the festival were murdered, hundreds injured, and about 40 kidnapped to Gaza.

Arad Fruchter, 21, was one of the lucky ones. 

He and a few friends managed to escape the scene by car and then hid in a banana plantation, where they were rescued hours later by passing Israeli soldiers.

Arad’s father, Ari Fruchter, had texted his son earlier that morning after hearing about incoming rockets in the area of the festival – before anyone knew what was to come next.

Arad assured him he was safe, so Ari turned off his phone and went to synagogue for Simchat Torah services. He took the opportunity to recite the traditional “Mi Sheberach” prayer asking God to bless and protect Arad and his younger son, Agam, a national service volunteer this year in Tel Aviv. 

Because Simchat Torah services last much longer than usual, by the time Ari got home and checked his phone, Arad had already escaped Supernova and been saved. 

Their personal trauma had passed, but the national trauma was just beginning.

Speaking to ISRAEL21c last week, both father and son described how profoundly the events of that day impacted them. 

Ari Fruchter, whom we chose this year as one of 48 remarkable Israelis to profile on Independence Day for his Dead Sea advocacy projects, is a social entrepreneur and philanthropist prominent in the art world. 

Arad Fruchter and his friend Gal Zilberstein, 20, recently started an event-management app called Zygo.

Feeling a strong mixture of relief, gratitude and above all a drive to help others in this very difficult time in Israel, Ari and Arad decided to use Zygo as a platform for a fundraiser to benefit the newly launched Israeli Children’s Fund

This fund was established by entrepreneurs from the Israeli tech and mental-health space to provide social and professional care to children bereft of their homes and/or their parents due to the deadly Hamas rampage. The fund also seeks to raise enough millions to cover the financial and logistical needs of the children’s guardian families.

“Echoes of Hope” will begin at 8pm on Sunday, December 31 at the Jaffa Hotel, which has donated its entire space to the cause. Ticket-holders may book one of its 120 rooms for the night.

“We decided on a New Year’s Eve party because that’s when many people like to go out and celebrate, and many venues will be closed this year,” says Ari, who is co-producing the party and lending the support of his Dead Sea Revival Project

However, you don’t have to go to the party to donate to the ICF. The event page on Zygo also presents an option for donation only. The Fruchters are seeing many people from Israel and abroad doing just that. In fact, so far, direct donations are outpacing ticket sales fivefold.

Arad tells ISRAEL21c that he feels driven to do something for others, and feels fortunate that he already had in his hands a web-based tool that could be adapted for philanthropic projects.

“I really just want to help other people as much as I possibly can,” he says. “That’s the most important thing to me right now.”

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