Bearing Witness

OneFamily has been blessed with fantastic volunteers who come to Israel for varying periods and devote their time to helping victims of terrorism and documenting their experiences.

These volunteers come from all walks of life, and many different communities throughout the world. The one thing they all share in common is a deep concern for humanity, and for the front line victims of the terrorist war being waged against Israel.

They are here to bear witness to the destruction these victims must face and the heroic struggle they endure to rebuild their shattered lives.

Representing Victims

Part of our responsibility as the main address for Israel’s terror victims is to represent these victims to the world. We want everyone to know what Israelis have been through in the past 5 years. We want you to understand the pain that each family affected by terror feels, and we hope that you will be moved to action by their suffering. We cannot let victims of terror bear this burden alone.

Victims Helping Victims

A very special element of the support OneFamily provides to victims of terror is the presence of several victims as OneFamily employees. This section highlights the contributions of these special people to the welfare of victims of terrorism throughout the country – and to their own well-being.

Field Workers

The emotional and physical strain experienced by victims following a terrorist attack can often threaten to destroy the fabric of an otherwise stable family. But it is specifically the stability provided by family that is the chief element in a victim’s recovery. Without that stability, the effects of terrorism can – and often do – claim the victim a second time.

Part of OneFamily’s mission is to strengthen the families of terror victims and prevent terrorism from wreaking even more havoc during the months and years following the attack. OneFamily field workers are the critical lynch-pin in all of OneFamily’s activities, often working around the clock maintaining contact with the families, providing emotional support, a listening ear, and endless sympathy and empathy with the victims and their circumstances. The activities of OneFamily’s field workers enable the organization to keep track of the needs and developments of each victim, and allow the victims to understand that we care – as if they were a member of our own family.

Regular home visits and phone calls are just the beginning. Field workers spend hours in hospitals providing support to relatives and wounded victims, and remain in close contact with the families once they return home. OneFamily field workers are there at every memorial service, and also share in the families’ celebrations. Families have asked OneFamily field workers to be on hand for the birth of their children; they have invited field workers to the Bar or Bat Mitzvahs of their children, and to their weddings.

OneFamily field workers draw on their vast experience and their own networks of contacts to provide assistance that families don’t even necessarily expect. Our organization has helped people find jobs, obtained access to medical treatment – including life-saving organ transplants – both in Israel and abroad, solved housing problems, and intervened in school to ensure that children obtain the educational support they need to succeed.

OneFamily has received countless letters of thanks from victims of terrorism throughout Israel, telling us that they consider their field worker to be a part of their family. To us, that proves that our name is our mission.

Youth Division

When a teen is the victim of terrorism, s/he often needs another teen who can understand his/her special circumstances. The purpose of the OneFamily Youth Division is to assist in the healing and rehabilitation of teen-aged victims of terrorism. Through its dedicated staff, OneFamily is able to provide real professional assistance that is specific to the problems teenagers can have with the realities of terrorism.

The cornerstone of OneFamily’s Youth Division is the camps that we hold three times a year. During the summer, Chanuka, and Pesach, 350 teen-aged victims of terrorism are invited to three camps held in locations throughout Israel: one for boys, one for girls, and one co-ed. The camps run for 8 days during the summer, and for 3 days during the holidays. The schedule is loaded with indoor and outdoor activities, and provides a healthy retreat from the daily pain and tension of the victims’ lives.

If you would like to take steps to ensure the future of young victims of terror you can help…

  • A donation of $500 sends a child to a One Family Fund Holiday camp.
  • A donation of $1000 sends a child to One Family Fund’s Summer Camp.

Between the camps, the Youth Division runs regular programs, with the same staff from the camps, in order to continue the relationships between the youth and the counselors, and provide on-going friendship, support and role models to assist with the recovery of the victims. Such regular contact is essential in allowing the victims to find trust and begin dealing with their difficult realities.

These programs include weekly local meetings and activities, including interactive therapy sessions such as phototherapy, music therapy, art therapy, and other activities that assist with the emotional recovery of the victims. Where the victims engage in creative projects such as photo or art therapy, exhibitions are helpd periodically where they can show off their works.

Young Adults Division

The Young Adults Division, or Bogrim as it is known in Hebrew, was created to address the specific needs of bereaved siblings ages 20-30; those too old for OneFamily youth activities, but not quite at the place of adults. The division coordinators are in touch with 300 terror victims – some beginning college, some graduating, some working part-time, some beginning full-time careers, some marrying, and some still waiting to meet the right one.

Legal Assistance

OneFamily offers free legal advice and support for necessary legal proceedings through our legal counsel Michael Weinberg.

Michael assists victims with application to Israeli national insurance victims’ funds and other benefits to which they are entitled. He guides victims through the court system when they wish to apeal government rulings, and in extremem cases, he will even accompany victims to National Insurance hearings.

Michael assists families in debt by negotiating on their behalf with local banks and government agencies, in order for them to start a new life. Although some of the victims’ debts were accrued before their terror attack, OneFamily still helps. Recoverying from debt is difficult, but recovering from past debts after be struck by a terror attack is nearly impossible.

Michael complete his Law Degree at Bar Ilan University and is currently finshing his Masters In Social Wok at Haifa University. He is writing a thesis on Secondary Post-Trauma – the affects of a terrorist attack on the family members of the victim.

Therapy

In addition to financial assistance, often the most important element in the full recovery of a victim of terrorism is the knowledge that there are people who care, who are ready to listen, and who understand that, while terrorism destroys humanity, human kindness can defeat terrorism.

As part of its mission to be the family member every victim of terrorism wishes they had, OneFamily is committed to providing on-going emotional support to the thousands of victims of terrorism who need human kindness in order to overcome their anguish and rebuild their shattered lives.

Retreats
The victims have a chance to escape from their painful circumstances, to share a weekend with others who have gone through similar anguish, and to receive intensive therapy through the assistance of psychologists, rabbis, and specialty therapists who join the weekend’s activities.

Workshops
OneFamily runs 3-day workshops throughout the country to provide victims of terrorism with the ability to deal with day-to-day management of their psychological and physical injuries, through intensive therapy over a short period of time.

Support Groups
In the immediate aftermath of an attack, many victims experience a feeling of loneliness — that they, alone in the world, must withstand the suffering they are going through. The knowledge that there are others, of similar ages and family standings, who have gone through similar circumstances, often allows victims to begin the long process of recuperation., both emotional and physical.

Holidays
OneFamily is intimately aware of the special difficulties victims of terror have around holiday times. We hold special holiday gatherings and events for victims of terrorism to help them overcome these sad times, and turn them into the happy festivals they are meant to be.

Women’s Division
This division caters to the unique needs of women who have been victimized by terrorism. Special programs are held bi-monthly for widows and bereaved mothers, as well as special programs for ultra-Orthodox women.

In The Field
OneFamily takes pride in maintaining intimate contact with victims from the moment they arrive to the hospital. Through repeated visits and phone calls we get to know each victim on a very personal level, and are thus able to assess and meet their specific needs.

Young Adults Division
The Young Adults Division, or Bogrim as it is known in Hebrew, was created to address the specific needs of bereaved siblings ages 20-30; those too old for OneFamily youth activities, but not quite at the place of adults. The division coordinators are in touch with 300 terror victims – some beginning college, some graduating, some working part-time, some beginning full-time careers, some marrying, and some still waiting to meet the right one.

Financial Assistance

Since 2001, OneFamily has provided financial assistance to over 2700 victims of terrorism and their families. This assistance includes helping pay for medical help, psychological assistance, renovations, and vehicles for the disabled. It also includes helping to pay for family celebrations such as Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and weddings.

OneFamily receives requests for assistance daily from victims of terrorism all over Israel. The requests vary according to the needs of each individual victim, and they are treated with the individual attention they each deserve. Every case file contains a written report by OneFamily’s contact person with the victim’s family, signed reports from a National Insurance Institute case worker or other qualified professionalm, bank statements, and employer salary certification. OneFamily’s Allocations Committee discusses requests from branches bi-weekly. When a financial grant is decided upon, a check is prepared at the head office in Jerusalem and delivered by the contact person to the family. When material aid is decided upon, the item is ordered through the head office and delivered from the local branch office.

Thus far we have distributed over $26 million dollars in cash, goods, and services for victims and their families.