Victims of terror come to UK to speak over Yom Ha’atzmaut

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

Yavneh College

Michael Sobell Sinai School

JFS

Naima JPS

Immanuel College

Matilda Marks Kennedy School

Independent Jewish Day School

Hasmonean Boys School

Hasmonean Girls School

Leeds JSoc

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  to mark ’s remembrance day for fallen soldiers & victims of terrorism. Many thanks  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.

 

If you are interested in sponsoring groups to London please contact andrew@onefamilyuk.org

Amazing bereaved women visit London on a respite trip – March 2017

Earlier this year 16 amazing ladies were brought to the UK by One Family and hosted with families in London for a respite week .

 

respite
Landed safely at Heathrow

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!

respite

 

 

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.

 

respite

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!

respite

 

respite

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 andrew@onefamilyuk.org or visit www.onefamilyuk.org

If you enjoyed this blog please like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter

 

Bereaved children light a candle at One Family Chanukah Camp

The article below is a translation of a piece published on YNet, Israel’s leading news site, about the closing ceremony

“Looking for my brother inside me”

It was a joyous Chanukah party, with dancing and singing, even though the hearts was silently torn asunder. Two hundred children – boys and girls from bereaved families – gathered for a candle lighting ceremony organized by OneFamily. Eight candles, eight children – and each one is a world of loss and longing.

For most of us, the faces are anonymous but the names are familiar: Noam, son of Emanuel Moreno, who was killed during the Second Lebanon War; Sarah, the sister of Aaron Benita, who was murdered on his way to the Western Wall during Sukkot. One by one they stood up, a candle in their hands, joining the intimate circle of bereaved families.

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. “Surprises and Revelations” was the theme of the event held in Khan Revivim, and the children talked about the inner strength they found within themselves, as well as new challenges they needed to adapt to.

Take for example, Yuval Abutbul, 16, from Pardes Hana, who lost her mother Hadas in a shooting attack even before her first birthday. For years Abutbul avoided outdoor activities. She said it was only in the last year that she had the strength to deal with the pain she couldn’t explain, even to herself

“Each time I tried [to participate in outdoor activities], I would start screaming and need to return home,” she said. In ninth grade, she forced herself to join a course of Young Field Guides but the pain continued. “During one of the trips, I was surprised to suddenly discover within myself physical and mental strength I did not know was there. It made me realize that no matter how difficult it would be for me, if I want it badly enough and believe in myself, I can accomplish anything.”

 

 

 

The Hardest Year of My Life

Sarah Benita, 17, from Jerusalem, joined OneFamily a year ago. “Everything changed in an instant. It’s so cliché to say it, but it is true. When I called my brothers on Saturday night and they told me, I did not want to believe it until I heard his name on the radio. That’s when it hit me. My whole world turned upside down.”

“It was the beginning of the school year. Everyone began to return to normal, and I did not want to go back to school. At first I tried, but I realized it was too much for me. My school tried everything to bring me back. They pushed me up a grade, tried to convince me that I had to learn. At one point I thought maybe going back was the answer, but it did not help.”

Over time, Benita began to understand she couldn’t continue that way. “I even surprised myself. I realized I wanted to learn. I’m looking to finish high school with a high school diploma. Before the murder I was very withdrawn. I thought there was only one way to do things, and did not let myself look right or left, and to see that there are thousands of options.

“But something loosened itself and exploded in my mind. I started to dream and fulfill my desires. Before, I pushed down all the things that burned inside me. I wish for ourselves, during this holiday of Chanukah, that each of us will go with his heart until the end and not be afraid to want and dream. If there is anything we believe that is good for us, we should go all the way and not give up, just like the Maccabees.”

 

 

“I want to feel more connected to my brother who was murdered”

 

Chai Moriah, 11, is from Efrat. His brother Avraham David Moses was murdered at the age of 16, spoke about his inner life. “It’s surprising and strange to me that on one hand this is my brother, someone who is very close to me, and on the other hand, it is very hard for me to connect to him only through the stories. I was two years old when my brother was killed at Mercaz Harav, and I know him only from the stories that I hear from my family,” he explained. “I want to feel more connected to what happened and maybe even find out I’m like him in some ways.”

Noga Eisenman, 13, spoke passionately about the grief she felt since birth: her grandmother Noa Alon, 59, and her sister Gal, 5, were killed in 2002, before she was born, in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood. Noga’s name combines the names. She joined One Family when she was in second grade.

“When I was asked to speak at the event, I was surprised that I felt I could speak to the group. I felt comfortable talking about my story,” she admitted. “I’m not ashamed of it thanks to the strength I got here, and today I light candles with this new strength that flows in my blood.”

 

 

The House Where the Lights Are Out

 

chanukah

 

The ceremony was directed by Oz Boanis and Avinoam Rubin, members of OneFamily. Boanis lost his father, Yitzchak in a clash with terrorists in Hebron on Friday night, 2003. (Brigade Commander Dror Weinberg was also killed in the same battle) and Rubin lost his brother David in a clash with terrorists in 2008.

 

“Dealing with bereavement through the eyes of children, is one of our biggest challenges,” says Chantal Belzberg, CEO of OneFamily. “The perspective of children is immeasurably different from ours, and their ability to continue to cope with their new lives is different. We see the importance of the relationship between Chanukah and children. Hanukkah is the festival of the intensity of light.  Throughout the ages, we had times we needed to find light even in moments of complete darkness.

 

“The children in the organization come from families where vital light was extinguished.  For us, it is of utmost importance to give them light – which they will then shine onto their families,” She added. “When they all gather together, it is like a family reunion that strengthens them.”

 

The candle lighting ceremony on Tuesday concluded the Hanukkah Camp. “It is important for us to provide a place for children to enjoy themselves,” said Itzhak Fried, director of the Youth Division of OneFamily, “and no less, to allow them to benefit from the unique atmosphere that is created here – an atmosphere where all participants face bereavement, and this reality helps them develop the tools that will allow them deal with their daily lives.”

 

To learn more about Chanukah camps please contact andrew@onefamilyuk.org or visit www.onefamilyuk.org