Family and friends honor their relatives who loved surfing and the ocean
After the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, siblings Mika and Adam Pomerantz felt hopeless.
The unprecedented assault has promoted anger and grief around the world from family members searching for their relatives.
In efforts to create awareness and aspire hope, the Pomerantzes organized a paddle out at Surfrider Beach to honor their family and friends in Israel and hope for a safe return.
On Sunday, Nov. 26, more than 50 surfers swam out to Surfrider Beach with flags and flowers in their hands and hope in their hearts.
“I was born and raised in Israel and as you can imagine, I was deeply affected by the events on Oct. 7. The atrocious acts and lack of humanity on that day were heartbreaking; it created a tear in the world that can only be fixed with the unity of good and what we’re doing here today is exactly that,” Adam Pomerantz said. “On Oct. 7, Eli Baram was one of the 360 innocent people who were murdered while celebrating life at the Nova music festival. He was a special kid who loved life, he did not deserve this, and neither did the 1,400 innocent people who were brutally killed, raped, burned alive, kidnapped, and tortured.”
Pomerantz thanked and welcomed the crowd for attending and shared a few words before heading into the ocean with his surfboard.
“The beautiful souls of Oct. 7 will forever be remembered in honor; that is why we are here today, for them,” Pomerantz said.
Everyone who participated in the paddle-out gathered in a circle while Pomerantz threw flowers into the ocean as they represented the loss of life, while everyone splashed water as it represented the circle of life.
Pomerantz said when the Oct. 7 attacks happened, he wanted to do something.
“I grew up surfing and said why not join both things —Israel and surfing and thought it would be a great peaceful way to bring people together just to show support because that’s the best thing to do right now,” Pomerantz said.
Pomerantz said all of his friends are serving in the army, and some are facing the attacks in Gaza.
“It’s scary, especially the fact that I was supposed to be there too, so this is the least I can do for them,” Pomerantz said. “I had a close friend who was killed in the Nova festival so it hurts my heart.”
After the paddle out, the crowd lit candles and prayed for all the hostages for a safe return home.
“I’m really glad that so many people came together; it’s all about love, and that’s what’s going to win at the end of the day,” Pomerantz said.
Each member in the crowd shed tears as singer Sapir Tzemah serenaded the crowd with a few songs. Tzemah said it’s important to bring awareness by having events like this paddle out.
“I have friends who are there, and my sister went to the [Nova music] festival, thank god she is got out, so it’s really important for us to keep doing these events,” Tzemah said. “When I found out about the paddle out, I thought it was such a unique way to do something for Israel and create a little bit of hope and also do it in a creative way, and it’s also bringing the community together.”
Tzemah said she was surprised to see so much support from the community at the event.
“Everyone knows each other, and everyone is so standing for Israel even though we’re so far away,” Tzemah said. “We raised awareness, we raised money, we raised unity, this is what I loved to see.”
Tzemah came to Los Angeles from Tel Aviv five days before the Oct. 7 event and said her friends are doing OK.
“I understand from all of my friends that it’s kind of crazy, they have a lot of alarms and rockets, so it’s kind of rough, but it’s their reality,” Tzemah said. “It’s kind of a rough time, but I think they are more united than ever.”