On Tuesday, 12th June. nineteen bereaved fathers, all affected by a terrorist atrocity in Israel, including one father whose son was one of the three boys kidnapped in 2014 , come together for a very special rehabilitative week in London .
Hosted by families in the Hendon area, they have visited the London Motor Museum as well as being hosted in fabulous riverside home at Marlow for the day in the June sunshine. Last night they had a great evening with a whiskey tasting at the home of a generous supporter.
Today , Thursday they visit RAF Hendon , golf and shopping and then onto the Lion King this evening.
Sunday Farewell BBQ
Sunday evening June 17th the group bid farewell to their hosts as the community at Hendon Adath Yisroel Synagogue held a fabulous BBQ for the guests, their hosts and the wider congregation.
Quotes from the hosts:
A big big thank you and yeshecoach to David . For everything! And to you the lovely host families.
The Hendon Adath community embraced this group and we and they thank you so very much.
Thank you so much David for everything you have done to make this such an amazing week!
It was a real pleasure and honour for us to organise this event the benefits of which for everyone involved far exceeded our wildest expectations
Thanks to One Family David and Linda for organising the trip. The group was very cohesive and despite their constant agony were able to laugh and befriend the members of Hendon Adass. We opened our houses to them but they opened their hearts to us and we now have new lifetime friends.
Earlier in the day the group visited Camden market to get a different flavour of London and then took a trip on the canal to Little Venice:
Monday- the final farewell
This morning before flying home to their families in Israel the group are taking a flying visit to the British Museum – not a minute to waste!
Sadly they fly home this afternoon and they have left the community missing them already.
Helping each other
Staying with host families makes the experience even greater as they forge friends for life with their hosts . Often, these victims of terror do not know that there are people outside of Israel that care for their wellbeing and this is of great comfort to them.
Each member of the group came to London as strong individuals who have been exposed to terror, yet have chosen to stay positive and choose life despite the bereavement they suffered. This trip enabled the group to get to know each other, as many didn’t know each other well and to be strengthened by the power of being together with people who understand the difficult feelings they have had to cope with following the bereavement of their sibling. The trip literally changes their lives!
One Family were privileged to bring over to London for Israel Remembrance Day and Israel Independence Day six young adults, all of whom served recently in the IDF and who unfortunately have become victims of terror.
During their visit they attended various communal events both remembering the fallen and then celebrating 70 years Of Israeli Statehood. They were also invited to a number of schools & societies to tell their stories and to join in with the various ceremonies taking place. A special thank you to the following schools, societies and organisations for their hospitality:
UJS event at JW3
Redbridge Community Centre
Haberdashers Askes Boys School
Michael Sobell Sinai School
Matilda Marks Kennedy School
Independent Jewish Day School
Hasmonean Boys School
Hasmonean Girls School
The London Adani Community
Yom Hazikaron Ceremony at Finchley United Synagogue
To view the full gallery of pictures from the Israel 70 Party please CLICK HERE
We received the following messages from some of the schools:
School A – I just wanted to drop you an email to thank you so much for arranging soldiers m to come into school yesterday.I heard that the children really enjoyed listening to them.
School B – Just wanted to say a huge thank you to the soldiers for a wonderful event where they spoke superbly. Please pass them my thanks.
School C – Thank you so much for being our guest in Yom Hazikaron Assembly today. The soldiers were inspirational and their speeches left a high emotional impact on every member of the audience . Your participation in the assembly ensured it’s success and we are ever so grateful to you. Please pass on our gratitude and warmest wishes to both.
The week ended with a huge Israel 70 party where our guests ate, drank and danced the night away. The perfect ending to a very busy week.
Message from Ambassador Mark Regev – Moving ceremony at @JW3London to mark #YomHazikaron, #Israel’s remembrance day for fallen soldiers & victims of terrorism. Many thanks @JewishAgencyUK for organising. After their work was done they visited the sights of London as well as having a few leisure activities in London. We want to thank this special group for sharing their experiences with so many people here in the UK.
One Family is the family of Israel’s victims of terror attacks – support for those who have been bereaved, those who have been maimed, those challenging difficulties daily and those suffering from post-trauma as a result of terrorist attacks since 2001.
Summer event in Israel
This summer an evening event was hosted by patrons of the charity at their beautiful home in Hertzliya to pay tribute to all the support given to victims of terror by the friends and supporters of One Family UK and to hear about the latest activities in the organisation.
Approximately eighty people gathered to listen to MK Michael Oren who shared his thoughts about also being a victim of terror (His sister in law was killed in a bus bombing in 1991) and how organisations such as One Family are so important. He also spoke about his experiences as former Israeli ambassador to the United States and the challenges he faced. He then signed copies of his recent book Ally : My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, to give to the guests.
Bereaved sister Michal Hotter sang a song in English that she composed about her late brother who was killed in the 2nd Lebanon war and played beautiful jazz music throughout the evening. Her mother, Elaine, who is originally from the UK spoke on behalf of bereaved parents, how much One Family helps and supports the families and the guests from London had the opportunity to meet some victims of terror who kindly joined them for the event.
The summer retreat has arrived and for children who have lost a mother, father, brother or sister in a terrorist attack, fun isn’t a major part of their lives. But all of that changes when they arrive at One Family summer camp.
For six days, bereaved children allow themselves to be children again. That’s the magic that happens when they are with other children who have experienced the same type of loss.
During the year One Family’s Youth Division helps bereaved children by forging relationships between them and their volunteer counselors. The counselors make regular visits to their homes, particularly on their birthdays and the anniversary of the death of their family members. They speak on the phone weekly.
The relationship is deepened throughout the year at One Family events. The pinnacle of which is Summer Camp, where the counselors spend a week with the campers, bonding and providing emotional support.
That’s why the 300 campers and 60 counselors look forward to the start of camp all summer. When they are under the weather as the camp is due to begin, one camper said, they’ll do whatever they need to do to feel better so they can be at camp.
At One Family Camp, children who have lost siblings or parents to terror do not need to stifle their feelings, as they often do in their everyday lives. They are free to be themselves with others who are struggling with the same challenges.
Throughout the year, they feel different from others. At the One Family camp, they feel normal. As one of our campers said, “As soon as I stepped off the bus to start camp, I felt like myself again for the first time since the tragedy.”
That feeling is the gateway to healing. And it’s happening right now.
We wish you were there to see it in person. The pictures below capture some of the fun, excitement, and bonding we see each day at camp.
One Family aims to rehabilitate victims by ensuring that they have emotional and physical support to enable them to live fully functional lives, such as being able to care for the families, return to work, study, integrate fully back into society and have group support to enable this. Central to healing is One Family’s therapeutic structure that incorporates support groups, therapy workshops, healing retreats and psychological counselling.
The priority of the organisation is to care for youth whose main activity includes running three camps a year, weekend retreats, individual and group counselling, a mentor program which provides emotional support and guidance to children deemed to be emotionally and physically needy, this is the Big Brother and Sister Program.
Itai and his Big Brother cook together at One Family
Itai and his Big Brother cook together at One Family
For 10-year old Cheli, life was at its best when her older brother Benny was around. He would lavish her with attention and take her to fun places whenever he had the chance. The siblings had the kind of bond that comes from growing up with a single-parent home. They learned to look out for one another.
So when news came that Benny was killed by a terrorist while on guard duty in the army, Cheli was devastated. In a split second, one of the most important people in her life was gone forever. The void that opened was enormous. It felt like her childhood had been ripped away from her.
Twelve-year old Itai also suffered a shattering loss. In 2014, his father was killed in a road shooting that also left Itai and his mother wounded. Since then, he and his two brothers and two sisters have had to grow up not only without their beloved father but also without a stable male role model in their lives.
Cheli and Itai (as well as his two brothers) are part of One Family’s Big Brother/Sister program, which pairs children who need direct and ongoing attention with a caring older role model who will maintain regular, ongoing contact.
Most of the 30 pairs currently in the program meet up weekly, sometimes even twice a week for outings and chats. Most importantly, they help fill the void that’s left with the loss of a parent and sibling, providing unconditional love, a safe space to express feelings, and a chance to feel like regular children doing the thing they love.
Strong Emotional Guidance and Deep Bonds
Cheli with her Big Sister
The activities of the big and little brothers and sisters are as varied as the children themselves but the purpose is always the same – to let the children know someone cares and is there for them for friendship, emotional support, and help overcoming the difficulties of growing up in their painful circumstances.
For Itai and his Big Brother Ze’ev, that means spending time processing the trauma Itai experienced. By building a close bond, they have created a safe place for Itai to talk about his father and what Itai can learn from him.
For Cheli, having a Big Sister is a chance to enjoy simple childhood experiences and a break from the difficult and painful atmosphere at home.
Others, like Rachel, whose mother was killed in a suicide bombing, get to feel some of the maternal bond they are missing and benefit from the advice and guidance from someone who understands her needs.
Tal and her Big Sister like to chat while cooking together, and even put together a booklet of their favourite recipes. The strong bond between them provides Tal with a place where feels safe to talk about her loss.
Or Hadash lost his father in 2010. His Big Brother serves as a mature male role model who provides stability and security after many years without a father figure in his life.
A number of other children like to go hiking or swimming in springs with their Big Brothers or Sisters, activities that would not be possible on their own. And since many of them come from shattered families where the parents themselves are coping with loss or injury, the Big Brother program provides the only opportunity.
Someone Devoted Just to Them
Tal and her Big Sister doing what they love to do – cook
All of the children in One Family’s Youth Division have counselors assigned to them and speak on the phone each week and see each other monthly. But the Big Brother program is more intensive, with each Big Brother or Big Sister devoted to only one child whom they see each week as well as special occasions such as birthdays and the anniversary of their loved one’s death.
Because the Big Brothers and Sisters play a vital role in the lives of the children, they are uniquely positioned to monitor the children’s growth and progress, and are the first to notice any negative patterns that may develop. This helps the children deal with problems as early as possible, before they impact their lives.
The relationships also give the Big Brothers and Sisters an opportunity to guide and mentor the children and lead them towards a brighter future. They help children who have suffered move through the fragile stages of childhood. They fill in spaces that would otherwise remain open wounds.
The results are easily apparent to anyone who sees the children in the beginning of the process and at the end. Children who are shy start to open up to the world, and many of them go on to serve in elite units in the army and then successful professional careers.
Most importantly, they help them heal on the inside and outside. And that makes all the difference.
One Family, an organisation that supports victims of terror, asked the children to speak, release their burdens, and display the strength they found through coping with their tragic circumstances.
Written by a One Family volunteer who joined the One Family Young Adults Division on an outing to the North.
The day started with a tour of a winery and a wine tasting at Har Galil. In true Israeli style, the winery staff could not find the key to the fence to let us in, so everyone had an extra adventure climbing the fence in order to start the tour.
Next, all of us headed to Tzfat for another factory tour and tasting, this time at a cheese factory. The day was rounded out with a hike and picnic outside of Tzfat, complete with all the dairy delicacies appropriate for the Shavuot holiday, which would start the next day.
I was fortunate enough to accompany the group throughout this adventure and see the dynamics of the members, all of whom have lost close family members – a brother, sister, mother, or father – to terror.
About ten of us started at the winery but more joined as the day progressed. By the time we came to the picnic, many people were joining the group, exchanging warm hugs, and partaking in the festivities.
These arrivals show most clearly what it means to be part of this group. There is a silent support network that comes from having a large group of people who have all experienced the same trauma. If someone is reminded of a lost loved one or has a negative experience, they are free to share with one person or the whole group. No one will judge them, or laugh, or think that what they are doing is not normal.
Because everyone there has felt the same way or done the same thing. Here, everyone can be themselves without holding back. There is no need to fear judgement because everyone knows what it is like to be in the same place. That’s what makes it so comfortable.
This group is a safe space away from the world. They are comfortable crying. But more importantly, they are comfortable smiling and laughing, because life does go on.
On this trip were people from all walks of life, at all stages. Some group members were studying, some were working, but all had the chance to step away from whatever they were doing for a moment and just spend the day with friends. At first glance, this was a typical group of friends out for a day trip. People broke off into groups to chat about their lives. And one person had his phone taken away when he was paying more attention to it than to his friends.
During the picnic, one young woman pulled out a mini coffee-maker and gas lighter and used them to make chocolate fondue for the group. Added to the cheese and campfire-style fondue was the knowledge that everyone there was there for each other. Everyone had a support network and was ready help those around them.
Just as friends come together for a day trip, the Young Adult Division was able to spend some time getting away and celebrating the holiday in style. These trips help them maintain a connection to each other and to One Family. And you can see how much that connection means from the moment they say “hello.”
In honour of the festival of Shavuot, One Family members from central Israel enjoyed a special day of healing activities at the Rananna warm house.
The senses were awakened during a therapeutic healing floral workshop ran by staff member Sophie Vardi, who runs “Happiness through Flowers” workshops. The aim of the workshop, are to teach the ladies how to make hand tied bouquets with white flowers and wheat, traditionally used in floral arrangements for this festival to represent the harvest time but deeper than that, research has shown that flowers have a positive and healing effect on emotional well being. All the ladies commented how much they enjoyed the workshop and their faces were filled with light from this special morning.
The ladies also enjoyed a special challah baking experience with Karen Rosenberg Maoz, where Nicole Cohen, mother of Ophir, who was seriously wounded in Operation Protective Edge, made a blessing for his complete recovery.
All the ladies then enjoyed a special dairy lunch followed by tasty cheesecake and received a blessing from Rabbi Kobi Pessel, who gave a talk about the days between Jerusalem Day and Shavuot and how we can take strength from this time. Rabbi Pessel, has been coming to One Family events at the warm house in Rannana for over a decade and he is the source of much strength for One Family members there.
Another important aspect of the day, was the coming together of all these ladies, gaining strength from each other. To see the positivity and energy these ladies experienced today despite the terrible pain in which they carry on a daily basis, it was an honour to be able to give them such an inspiring day. Chag Sameach!
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Monday May 8th One Family UK held our Face of Hope dinner at the Lancaster London Hotel , attended by over 530 guests.
Everyone in the room heard from victims of terror in Israel who had all experienced tragic loss but have become the face of hope for us all as with the help of One Family they have rebuilt their lives.
Chen Hayoun -One day I wanted to buy a shirt. I was a senior in high school, full to the brim with wild hopes and dreams, often daydreaming about what my future would look like. I was doing just that as I strolled into the market at the Israeli city Hadera.
A moment later, my world was torn apart. A suicide bomber blew himself up, murdering five, and leaving me terribly wounded. I suffered major head and internal trauma, as well as grievous and extensive burns. For a month, I was hanging between life and death, with slim chances of survival.
But I fought. I fought for me. I fought for my family and friends. I fought for those who had lost their life that cursed day. And I survived. But I was a broken, shattered thing, and I needed help. A lot of it.
In the following months, I underwent many operations and other medical procedures, all designed to give me a chance for a relatively normal life. Most of them succeeded. Thank G-d I’m alive but with only 25% hearing and a body still full of shrapnel. Notwithstanding this I was proud to serve my country in the Israeli Defense Force’s Spokesperson’s unit.
I completed my law degree followed by a masters. I even got married. —all of this — would not have been possible without the help of One Family. They cared for me, they helped me, they funded my scholarship through law school and they deserve the lion’s share of the credit for who I am today, though maybe they would not have done so if they knew I would end up a lawyer.
I’m not sure I believe in heavenly angels. It’s hard to after the ordeal I went through. But today, with One Family, I believe in earthly ones.
One Family was my face of hope and I thank you all for making my life as possible as it is today
David Hatuel tells his story:
On 2nd May 2004 I lost my family—my wife Tali and our four daughters: Hila 11, Hadar 9, Roni 7, and Merav 2. They were shot by terrorists while driving from Gush Katif to Ashkelon to meet me. The car was forced to swerve off the road and then the terrorist approached the car and shot them at point blank range. My wife was nine months pregnant… with our unborn son.
I thought to myself that I could not go on. I’d lost everything but my friends from my neighborhood stood by me, supporting me and stayed with me at every moment. And if it wasn’t for them and for the support of One Family, I would not be standing here today. Every day a One Family counsellor came to me giving me the support I desperately needed. They were the face of hope and gave me tools to cope and get through those long days of despair. Day by day, slowly but surely I could see a way forward.
At times memories are what helps my heart continue pumping, to keep on progressing forward. For it is the recollections of good times, which enwrap within them the experiences, the smells, and the scenes which once were and will never return – awakening a desire to once again form new memories, to once again experience life.
Yesterday, was the 13th anniversary of my families’ murder. I lit five memorial candles last night and glanced at the burning flame. That same burning flame that is now inside me giving me the courage to come and talk to you this evening. For I know that without people like yourselves, supporting the work of One Family, this outstanding organization, the terrorists that decimated my life would be able to count many more victories. Thanks to people like you, I have been able to cope and move forward with my life.
I have married Limor and together we have five beautiful children. I am once again building a home. My new home is an addition and not a replacement of the home that was destroyed. My wife and children live inside me. I am like a tree whose branches were cut off and now they are growing again. I had two options: Fall down and be totally destroyed, or stand up and live. I am choosing to live! And as President of One Family, I hope I am helping others choose that same path.
Following the speakers Mary Dan Goor reiterated how One Family had helped her to rebuild her life after her son was killed in service to Israel.
Avigador has been a member of One Family since his parents, grandfather and brother were murdered in their family home in Elon Moreh, Avigdor when a terrorist infiltrated their home on March 28, 2002. His parents David & Rachel, both 50, maternal grandfather Rabbi Yitzhak Kanner, 83 and his brother Major Avraam Gavish, 20 were killed instantly. Avigdor’s world was torn apart on that fateful evening. Avigdor describes the feeling as “a radioactive bomb and the radiation keeps hitting us, even after many years” Avigdor was serving in the IDF at the time and was only 20 years old. The remaining six children, ages 15 to 22, managed to escape out of a second floor window whilst the terrorist was still in the house looking for them. For Avigdor and his siblings, the pain never goes away. Like other members of the Ophan’s division of One Family, the tragic and sudden loss of both parents in terrorist attacks undermines their very foundation, their sense of stability and security. Avigdor and his siblings were taken in by the One Family orphan division and it remains a huge part of their lives until today.
Together with one Family, his music and his ‘Emunah/belief’ , he has been able to cope and breathe once more.
Avigdor studied engineering but in the last 6 years he has focused on his musical career recently launching his first album “Yom Chadash-New day”. His album is the ‘bridge between pain and hope’.
One Family has been an intrinsic part of Avigdors life since the fateful terror attack and has encouraged him to follow his dreams. Avigdor recently went on a One Family retreat to new York, Avigdor Picture 6 with other members of the Orphan’s division where he fulfilled a lifelong dream playing the piano on the fabled stage at the Carnegie Hall. Avigdor Picture 7
Avigdor speaks through his music and will lead all of us with a toast to the President & the State of Israel playing the Hatikvah, which means hope – and is exactly what tonight’s evening is all about?
Earlier this year 16 amazing ladies were brought to the UK by One Family and hosted with families in London for a respite week .
One Family brought a group of bereaved mothers and widows to London for a respite trip. All of the ladies had lost either a son, daughter or husband in a terror attack in israel, one had been lost in the Bulgaria Bus Bomb recently. Their stories are sad and harrowing, yet they manage to carry on and deal with their daily lives. The group were brought over to London for a respite trip to give them a break, change of scenery and to see that people everywhere support them emotionally and as well as in other ways.
During their stay they were treated to a spa day at the home of a donor, where therapists gave their time for free to treat the ladies to manicures, pedicures, massages, facial and hair and make up to ready them, for their week ahead. The ladies begun their week with a renewed energy and looking glamorous too!
Messages from some of our lovely , generous therapists who helped on the day:
a) The ladies who I met were a true inspiration. It is so wonderful that One Family can bring them to London – so they can have a break from ‘real life’.
b) Thank you was amazing to hear the story’s of such sad situations and was very happy to take part xx
c) It was amazing and satisfying to be part of this lovely giving event! – Thank you very much
This was followed by dinner and a trip to theatre to see Mamma Mia.
The following day begun at another donors home with breakfast and art therapy to be followed by a shopping trip. They left their shopping trip with bags full of goodies for their families back in Israel. Friday evening shabbat began at Hampstead Garden Suburb synagogue with a communal Friday night dinner, where the ladies ,their host families and other guests enjoyed an evening together hearing about the women, their stories and their families. They were truly inspirational as you will see from the messages from the host families.
The ladies spoke eloquently and emotionally about their lost loved ones.
On Shabbat they enjoyed a fabulous kiddish at the synagogue ,which was followed by an evening at Mixology in East London learning how to make cocktails and clearly enjoying the experience.
Sunday began with a tour of London where they went on the London Eye, followed by a tour of Kensington Palace and the Princess Diana dress collection, as well as Buckingham Palace and other sights of London, and they were NOT defeated by the extremes of weather we endured that day from rain, to sun and wind!
The week culminated in a fabulous farewell party at the home of another donor where everyone learnt more about the ladies and their families and the people they had lost.
The group all had an amazing time and sent this message before they left on Monday morning:
Dear committee & all the dearest families hosting us in our wonderful visit to London,
No words to express our thanks and appreciations for the great hospitality, care, attention and endless pampering in this special and unforgettable week!
It has been an incredible experience for all of us, and we return to Israel with renewed strength.
We love you all!
Nava and all the participants of March 2017 One Family Visit to London.
The hosts who were all first timers sent the following messages this morning after their guests left much rested after their respite trip, for their return to Israel.
Messages from our host families:
a) I was a first timer with One Family and as someone said last night I feel I have really experienced something very special over the last few days. Incredible group of ladies, we can only admire the sacrifices they have made for Israel. Amazing organisation throughout. I will miss Chava. Thank you. Louise x
b) I feel exactly the same Louise as it was our first time too. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to host and to meet Rina and all the wonderful brave ladies. Last night was just amazing and we feel grateful to have been a part of it.
c) It was an exceptionally special few days in my life. All the ladies were so inspirational and I just feel I have learnt so much from them all. Sigal, the lady I hosted, kept telling me how much we have all given to them, but the truth is that they have actually given us hosts so much more!! What a wonderful group of ladies. Thrilled to have been a part of this. Xxx
d) We feel exactly the same this was a group of very brave and inspirational woman. We also felt we have learnt so much from them. It has been a very special few days and among the tears it was so good to see the smiles too. So glad to have taken part in this programme, we hope that they have some wonderful memories of their trip xxx
e) I feel truly blessed to have been a part of this unbelievable few days. These ladies were a real inspiration and I also felt that I got so much from them all. If we helped them in any way I feel truly grateful. Lovely to meet the hosts and one family organisation in London – Thank you all xx
f) What an incredible and special few days it has been. Having Naama and Esther in our home was an honour.. I never released until now what One Family did, they actually put themselves into these bereaved families’ lives until they can breathe again. Amazing. – I will miss all these wonderful ladies so much….
g) It was a real privilege to be involved and host but I must say I am blown away by Debbie and all you other generous wonderful ladies involved in One Family that give your time and open your homes to organise this wonderful charity and bring these ladies out… you are all just as inspirational
h) It was a truly special experience as always. The life stories resonate and haunt me from one group to the next and each group is so special and so humbling to meet. The recurring theme is how One Family never gives up and will always be there to hold the hand of bereaved families so they can rebuild a new life together. It is an honour and privilege to be able to help in a very small way. Thank you for all your hard work in bringing the groups to London. Xx
i) I can only reiterate what everyone else has already so eloquently written. Truly memorable. Xx
We would like to thank our hosts and our fabulous ladies who have given so much for us all!
If you would like to host our next group please email email@example.com or visit www.onefamilyuk.org
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