After the tragedy, a new simchah for Hannah


The batmitzvah girl whose simchah was called to an abrupt end after the shooting of a synagogue guard in Copenhagen last month has been given the chance to celebrate in peace.

Hannah Bentow and her family were holding a party at Denmark's central synagogue last month when Omar El-Hussein shot and killed volunteer security guard Dan Uzan, who was stationed at the entrance.

The attack forced guests to run and hide in fear, many hiding in the basement.

But thanks to a group of philanthropists, Hannah was able to celebrate with her family in Jerusalem last week.

Josh Salmon, from Canada, helped fly the family to Israel and arranged for Hannah to swim with dolphins in a programme designed for victims of trauma.

He said: "As a Jew, regardless of your level of observance, a batmitzvah is a major milestone in a girl's life, and to have this major event destroyed by a terrorist attack is something that can and will cause severe psychological damage, especially at such a young age."

Mita Bentow, Hannah's mother, said the gesture was "overwhelming and fantastic.

"It does matter that for ever everyone will remember Hannah's batmitzvah not for something good, not for what she said in her speech, not for the fun presents or the speeches, but for that event.

"For our family there is no getting over, there is getting on.

"We will do our best to live up to the memory of Dan, who died protecting us."

On Sunday, thousands of people formed a "peace ring" around the Copenhagen synagogue to show their support for the Jewish community.

They included Danes of all religions. Organiser Niddal El-Jabr said it was important "to send a powerful statement.Jews should be able to have their religion in peace".

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