The official newspaper of the Ramaz Upper School

The Rampage

The official newspaper of the Ramaz Upper School

The Rampage

The official newspaper of the Ramaz Upper School

The Rampage

Mia Schem’s Ramaz Visit

On March 14th, the juniors and seniors had the privilege of hearing from Mia Schem, a freed hostage from Gaza. As a part of her trip to America, Mia Schem and her mother came to share the horrifying story of her kidnapping to Ramaz students. Her mother, Keren Schem, sat by Mia’s side supporting her and translating for her as Mia spoke about her heart-wrenching experience. Schem began her presentation by describing her life before October 7th as a 21-year-old tattoo artist living in Shoham. She emphasized how much she values her family which consists of her parents, two brothers, and a sister. Mia stated, “My family is my life and I would die for my family”. Before she began her work, Mia served in the Israeli army and traveled to Thailand. She loves spending time with her friends and relatives, and she was doing exactly that when she attended the Nova Music Festival, where she was taken captive.

 

The fun-spirited Mia Schem attended the Nova Festival on October 7th with her friend Elia Toledano, in order to enjoy herself. During the festival, Mia heard and saw rockets and ran straight to her car with Elia. They began driving away, however soon after, Hamas terrorists shot her tires, preventing them from escaping. The terrorists shot Mia’s hand, partially detaching it from her arm. Afterwards, Mia and Elia lied on the street, but when a terrorist came by, he only took Elia as he thought Mia was already dead. While waiting on the road, Mia thought to herself “הייתי בטוחה שאני עומדת למות” (I was sure that I was going to die). A bit later, when she thought she was being saved, Mia stated, “I saw someone who looked Israeli and screamed for help but then he said to me to come in Arabic, and I knew I had no choice. I would either burn to death or go with him”. Hidden in the back of a pickup truck, Schem made her way to Gaza where she was held hostage. 

 

When she first reached Gaza, her hand injury was her biggest concern. The Hamas terrorists tied her hand to plastic and deprived her of any treatment of her open gunshot wound for three days. Afterwards, a Hamas doctor operated on her with a dangerous procedure, putting both her life and the future of her hand at risk. Mia was then placed in a small dark room for days where she was unaware of whether it was day or night. Alone with her thoughts, Mia stated, “I had to hold myself and tell myself ‘ok this will be over and you will get home’…I just believed… believed in myself, believed in God… and told myself ‘stay strong stay strong’” . Through her incredible strength, Mia was able to keep her morale up during her incomprehensible experience. Additionally, the terrorists further tortured Mia by forcing Mia to watch clips of her mom worrying about her. They then had Mia film a video telling the world that she is ok when in reality, she was not. “They played a psychological war”, Mia said, “Each day they would say that I would go back to Israel, but then they would say never mind, you will be here for years and marry a terrorist”. When it was actually time for Mia to leave, all the terrorists said was “you…Israel…now!”. At first she didn’t believe them, but then after dressing her like an Arab woman, the terrorists brought her back to Israel where she reunited with her family. 

 

While concluding the assembly, Mia stated, “I have two stories: my survival story, about what they did to me, and the story of how I held myself and what I told myself to believe”. Throughout her time in Gaza, Mia had to constantly lift herself up and maintain hope. She said, “הרצון שלי לחיות היה חזק מהכל” (My will to live was greater than anything else). Mia’s strength is indescribable and truly admirable. She was able to see the bright side, even while enduring weeks of torture. She was motivated to stay alive and told herself, “No way that I die now. After everything that happened, I want to live”. Mia is a role model to everyone, imparting the lessons she learned during her captivity while spreading awareness and making sure that no one forgets about the hostages still in Gaza. Mia concluded her story by saying “זה היה נס על נס על נס”, attributing her survival to many miracles. 

 

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