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Maya Goren

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In the heart of Kibbutz Nir Oz, Maya Goren was far more than a kindergarten teacher; she was the embodiment of a nurturing spirit that touched many. Maya and her late husband, Avner, were the pillars of a family with four children, their ages spanning from 18 to 25. Described by those who knew her as exceptionally kind, sensitive, and loving, Maya's care extended beyond her immediate family, enveloping the entire kibbutz community. Her legacy includes the countless children she nurtured with devotion and generosity. Her dedication to her role was unwavering, even in the face of danger.
On Saturday October 7, the holiday of Simchat Torah, Kibbutz Nir Oz was under heavy attack, along with other communities in southern Israel. The attack, perpetrated by Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip, targeted innocent civilians, shattering their peaceful lives with unprecedented violence.
On that fateful morning, as Maya prepared her kindergarten room for the next day, she found herself hiding under children's beds to evade the imminent threat, a moment captured in her last communication with her son. At that time, Avner, Maya's husband, was murdered by terrorists at their home.
The tragedy unfolded as Maya was taken by Hamas terrorists to Gaza. Her passing was confirmed on December 2, 2023. Maya Goren’s remains are yet to be returned from Gaza, leaving a void that echoes her absence, marking a profound loss for her family, her community, but above all - for her and Avner’s now orphaned children.
Two of their children were away from the kibbutz that day, while the other two resided in the younger generation neighborhood, and survived the terrorists' rampage. In the aftermath, all four Goren children found refuge in Eilat, joining other survivors from Nir Oz in seeking solace and safety.

Maya's essence, characterized by her optimism, happiness and positive energy, was a cornerstone of Nir Oz. She engaged with every child as if they were her own, a testament to her boundless dedication to nurturing and caring for others. Dekel, her daughter, lovingly describes her mother as “somewhat of a kibbutz ‘mother-guru’, a cornerstone for parents and the go-to authority in the community on all matters of child-rearing.”
Maya’s memory lives on in the hearts of those she touched, a ray of love and devotion in the face of unimaginable adversity.

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