"It gave us more power … it made us grow as a community, it made us more aware, and that awareness gave us power," said Anna Shilansky, a young lesbian who was one of the people who was shot and injured on August 1, 2009. She was inspired by the outpouring of support from Israeli elected officials and citizens at a rally a week after the incident.
Recently, Shilansky and three other Israeli LGBT young people were in San Francisco and spoke at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav. She told an audience of about 50 people that she was afraid to return to the center after the shooting. She changed her mind after speaking with a counselor who reminded her that the center was her "home."
"This place is my home. It’s where I got the strength to be myself and to live like I do," said Shilansky, 18. "Someone actually came into our home and shot our friends, but it’s still my home. That doesn’t change."
Shirel Touitou, 20, shared Shilansky’s feelings about the center being their home and how the shooting changed her.
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