The singer using her voice to give back to WIZO UK

Lara Pines had to settle into Israeli society while dealing with the trauma of October 7


Lara performing at WIZO's Commitment Dinner in London (Photo: Blake-Ezra Cole)

Weeks after budding musician Lara Pines made aliyah from Argentina, Israel experienced the worst terrorist attack in its history.

“Have you ever had to prepare your school backpack with clothes instead of supplies, just in case you have to run to a bunker?” she asks.

Lara and her family left South America due to concerns around the country’s safety and stability – an irony that isn’t lost on her.

Nonetheless, Lara says she feels “safer in Israel despite October 7 than I did living in Argentina”.

Pointing to her Magen David necklace, she says: “I can wear this in Israel. I’m not sure I could have done that [in Argentina].”

But the transition has not been without its challenges. Not only did the family have to get to grips with settling into a new country, but they arrived just as the country launched into war.

“I had never experienced anything like October 7 before,” says Lara. 

After the attacks, many of the new friends she had made returned to the countries they had left behind. Lara stayed in Israel, at times feeling “scared”.

But the teenager says that her school in WIZO’s Hadassim Youth Village near Netanya, supported by WIZO UK, has helped nurture her passion for music while dealing with the shock and trauma experienced by Israelis, post October 7.

“The support helps me and my friends to be able to live a childhood that is as normal as possible,” she says. “It is strange, but even with the attacks from Iran, we feel supported here.”

At the same time, Lara concedes that she and her peers “are still children, and we haven’t completely adapted to [attacks] being normal”.

At the recent WIZO UK Commitment Dinner in London, which raised £425,000 to support therapy and workshop programmes, you could hear a pin drop as the gifted teen performed some of her own music.

Lara discovered her love of singing while on long car journeys with her dad and finds that “playing music, singing and composing songs calms me and gives me serenity”.

One of the songs she performed in the UK was about the abuse and sexual violence experienced by women on October 7.

“I feel like you can spread messages with music. I would love to be a musician when I grow up, but for now, I like being able to practise my talent, and the school encourages me to do that.”

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