In the wake of the devastating shooting in Pittsburgh, the Jewish world needs stories of courage and inspiration. So OneFamily brought Meir Pavlovsky on a tour of Southern California to share his own story, which filled audiences with hope and confidence, no matter the challenge.
Meir was brutally stabbed repeatedly in his chest and back but managed to survive the attack. Since then, he has been a model of resilience, not only returning to regular life but also thriving in a new career after he could no longer work in his old field due to his injuries.
Meir’s tour with OneFamily took him to Beth Jacob and Nessach Synagogues in Los Angeles, the Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School in Orange County, and Young Israel of Beverly Hills.
He credits OneFamily for providing the tools to find resilience inside him and overcome the obstacles in front of him.
The attack took place on Sukkot in 2015. Meir was sitting in his Sukkah when the terrorist snuck in behind him and stabbed him again and again.
“By some miracle, I managed to run away holding my inner organs to keep them from falling out of my body. I could taste blood in my mouth and I started to choke. I collapsed lying in a pool of my own blood. I said Shema Yisrael and thought this was the end,” Meir told audiences.
“The next thing I remember was lying in a hospital bed, with machines attached to my body and scars that decorated my torso. The doctors gave me a 10 percent chance to survive,” he said.
While he was lying in the hospital, he received a visitor from OneFamily. “Her smile lit up my hospital room,” he said.
“She said she was here to help me, that OneFamily was set up to help victims of terror just like me. She would stay with me while I got better and then help me rebuild my life. All at once, I felt I wasn’t alone anymore.”
For Meir, an immigrant to Israel and a convert to Judaism with no family in Israel and nowhere to turn for help, the feeling of support was crucial to his recovery. OneFamily’s case workers took Meir through the organization’s strategy of resilience, helping him learn to accept help, reframe his experience to focus on building for the future, understanding the changes he was experiencing, setting goals and making plans for fulfilling them, and cultivating confidence in the future.
OneFamily also helped him pay his rent while he focused on his rehabilitation and encouraged him to pursue his interest in photography, and paying for a course in photography and videography.
Today, Meir is married and living in Jerusalem, standing on his own two feet.
“For the months that followed, OneFamily became my family. They helped me pay for my wedding and help us build our home together. They helped me cope with the trauma that I experienced.
“When the physical scars healed, I felt waves of emotion and pain which swept through my body. They helped me deal with the Post trauma during psychotherapy sessions that have helped me understand my feelings are normal in an abnormal situation.
“OneFamily helped me meet other victims of terror who have gone through similar pain which gave me the strength to move forward. Knowing that there are people all over the Jewish world caring about me and other victims of terror means so much to me and helps me continue on the road of life.”
If you would like to bring Meir to speak to your community, please contact Matana@onefamilyfund.org or call (646) 713-2788.