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

 

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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

How to cope with traumatic stress

What is traumatic stress?

Traumatic stress is a normal reaction to a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, motor vehicle accident, plane crash, shooting, or terrorist attack. Such events are extraordinarily stressful—not just for survivors, but also witnesses and even those repeatedly exposed to the horrific images of the traumatic event circulated on social media and news sources.

In this post we are looking at tips on how to cope with stress. We will learn how to recognise the signs of stress ,what traumatic stress is and how to get help if you are suffering from stress.

 

 

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In fact, while it’s highly unlikely any of us will ever be the direct victims of a terrorist attack, for example, we’re all regularly bombarded by disturbing images from around the world of those innocent people who have been. Viewing these images over and over can overwhelm your nervous system and create traumatic stress. Your sense of security shatters, leaving you feeling helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world, especially if the event was man-made, such as a shooting or act of terrorism. Whether or not you were directly impacted by the traumatic event, it’s normal to feel anxious, scared, and uncertain about what the future may hold.

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Usually, the unsettling thoughts and feelings of traumatic stress fade as life starts to return to normal over the days or weeks following the event.

You can assist the process by keeping the following in mind:

  • People react in different ways to traumatic events. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to respond.
  • Don’t tell yourself (or anyone else) what you should be thinking, feeling, or doing.
  • Avoid obsessively reliving the traumatic event.
  • Repetitious thinking or viewing horrific images over and over can overwhelm your nervous system, making it harder to think clearly
  • Ignoring your feelings will slow recovery. It may seem better in the moment to avoid experiencing your emotions, but they exist whether you’re paying attention to them or not.
  • Even intense feelings will pass if you simply allow yourself to feel what you feel.

We are now all seeing and hearing harrowing stories from Syria and these can effect in ways we are not expecting as well as those mentioned above.

 

 

 

 

 

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Recent headlines remind psychologists of the anxiety and fear that a terror attack brings to local residents and those viewing the news thousands of miles away. When an attack happens news stations often show visuals from past attacks in the same region of the world or by the same terror group, which can add to the stress that the viewer experiences. A recovering victim can be affected by news clips of the attack that they were originally affected by many years later. Israel faces terror attacks daily although they are not always reported, we in the UK as well as in Israel are often tuned into social networks which report the attacks with newsflashes.

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TWIN TOWERS 11 SEPTEMBER 2001 – NEW YORK
  • Suicide bombers and shootings in Paris -‘We fell to the floor and crawled over bodies’: British survivors of Bataclan massacre tell how they escaped ISIS gunmen as a Briton and an American are revealed to be among first victims of Paris attacks that killed 129 – The Daily Mail
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TERROR ATTACK AFTERMATH IN ISRAEL

“We will not be intimidated, and we will not live in fear,” – is a regular statement from politicians worldwide.

The point of terrorism is to terrify, public officials often say this in these situations, so the best reaction is to go about your lives.

But what if you’re still anxious?

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Terrorism’s unpredictable nature instils people with anxiety over the lack of control in their fate, Anne Marie Albano, a clinical psychologist and the director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders, said in an interview.

“It’s becoming sort of everyday life” Dr Albano said, “knowing that we cannot predict with good accuracy at all when something may happen.”

If you’re feeling anxious, here are a few ways to cope:

  • Compare your fear with the facts.
  • Limit your exposure to social media and the media.
  • It is natural to want to follow along with incremental updates on social media and in the news. But it’s important to know that this can heighten your anxiety.
  • Designating times to plug into the news — checking Twitter in the morning over coffee, but not listening to the radio while driving your kids to school, for instance — can help you manage anxiety if you are feeling stressed.
  • This will help you balance a realistic and credible threat with information that is sensationalised, Dr Albano said, “or a rush to report something or talk about something that doesn’t have the impact that you would think it has.”
  • Breathe – Easy to say ……

A guide to dealing with terrorism released by the FBI encourages closing your eyes and taking deep breaths to feel calmer. Taking a walk or talking to a close friend can also help.

They also recommend avoiding alcohol and drugs, exercising regularly and eating healthy foods — basic self-care guidelines that help reduce stress. However, alcohol and drugs are something we are drawn to in order to take away the anxiety.

Traumatic stress signs and symptoms

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Following a traumatic event, it’s normal for your nervous system to become overwhelmed by stress and to feel a wide range of intense emotions and physical reactions. These reactions to traumatic stress often come and go in waves. There may be times when you feel jumpy and anxious, and other times when you feel disconnected and numb.

Normal physical responses to traumatic events

It’s important to know what the physical symptoms of traumatic stress look like, so they don’t scare you. They will go away if you don’t fight them:

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  • Pounding heart
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Rapid breathing
  • Lump in throat; feeling choked up
  • Stomach tightening or churning
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Cold sweats
  • Racing thoughts

While these are all normal responses to a traumatic event, if the symptoms don’t ease up and your nervous system remains “stuck,” unable to move on from the event for a prolonged period of time, you may be experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Normal emotional responses to traumatic events

  • Shock and disbelief – you may have a hard time accepting the reality of what happened
  • Fear – that the same thing will happen again, or that you’ll lose control or break down
  • Sadness – particularly if people you know died
  • Helplessness – the sudden, unpredictable nature of terrorist attacks, accidents, or natural disasters may leave you feeling vulnerable and helpless
  • Guilt – that you survived when others died, or that you could have done more to help
  • Anger – you may be angry at God or others you feel are responsible
  • Shame – especially over feelings or fears you can’t control
  • Relief – you may feel relieved that the worst is over, and even hopeful that your life will return to normal

Signs of stress

  • lt’s been six weeks, and you’re not feeling any better
  • You’ve having trouble functioning at home and work
  • You’re experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks
  • You’re having an increasingly difficult time connecting and relating to others
  • You’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings
  • You’re avoiding more and more things that remind you of the disaster or traumatic event
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Create a plan with your family

It’s a good idea to draft a plan that details how you’ll get in contact with your family if something happens. Keeping in mind that you probably will never need to put this into action.

If you have children, it’s recommended to ask them how they are feeling about the news. Keep in mind that it is possible for children to be influenced by news reports and adult conversations. Keep your daily routine.

Dr Albano said that a primary worry in the field of psychology is people “going out of their way to be so safe that it shrinks their world.

“Terrorists thrive on this kind of thing,” she added. “They want to see the population change their practices.”

It’s advisable to keep a routine that enables you to meet people who don’t look like you, people who you wouldn’t otherwise know that way you aren’t so scared of new encounters.

Dr Albano praised the people of Paris for returning to cafes.

“That was a message to us from Giuliani after 9/11,” she recalled. ‘Get back to the ballgames. Get out there. Let’s go”

Traumatic stress recovery tip 1: Minimise media exposure

While some survivors or witnesses to a traumatic event can regain a sense of control by watching media coverage of the event or by observing the recovery effort, others find the reminders can be further traumatising. Excessive exposure to images of a disturbing event —such as repeatedly viewing video clips on social media or news sites—can even create traumatic stress in people not directly affected by the event.

  • Limit your media exposure to the traumatic event. Don’t watch the news or check social media just before bed, and refrain from repeatedly viewing disturbing footage.
  • Try to avoid distressing images and video clips. If you want to stay up-to-date on events, read the newspaper rather than watching television or viewing video clips of the event.
  • If coverage makes you feel overwhelmed, take a complete break from the news. Avoid TV and online news and stop checking social media for a few days or weeks, until your traumatic stress symptoms ease up and you’re able to move on.

Tip 2: Accept your feelings

Traumatic stress can cause you to experience all kinds of difficult and surprising emotions, including shock, anger, and guilt. These emotions are normal reactions to the loss of safety and security (as well as life, limb, and property) that comes in the wake of a disaster. Accepting these feelings and allowing yourself to feel what you feel, is necessary for healing.

  • Dealing with the painful emotions of traumatic stress
  • Give yourself time to heal and to mourn any losses you’ve experienced.
  • Don’t try to force the healing process.
  • Be patient with the pace of recovery.
  • Be prepared for difficult and volatile emotions.
  • Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling without judgment or guilt.
  • Learn to reconnect to uncomfortable emotions without becoming overwhelmed.

Tip 3: Challenge your sense of helplessness

Overcoming traumatic stress is all about taking action. Positive action can help you overcome feelings of fear, helplessness, and hopelessness—and even small acts can make a big difference.

Volunteer for a cause that’s important to you. As well as helping you to connect to others, volunteering can challenge the sense of helplessness that contributes to trauma.

If formal volunteering sounds like too much of a commitment, remember that simply being helpful and friendly to others can deliver stress-reducing pleasure and challenge your sense of helplessness. Help a neighbour carry in their groceries, hold a door open for a stranger, share a smile with the people you meet during the day.

Connect with others affected by the traumatic event or participate in memorials, events, and other public rituals. Feeling connected to others and remembering the lives lost or broken in the event can help overcome the sense of hopelessness that often follows a tragedy.

Tip 4: Get moving

It may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re experiencing traumatic stress, but exercising can burn off adrenaline and release feel-good endorphin’s to boost your mood. Physical activity performed mindfully can also rouse your nervous system from that “stuck” feeling and help you move on from the traumatic event.

  • Exercise that is rhythmic and engages both your arms and legs—such as walking, running, swimming, basketball, or dancing—are good choices.
  • To add a mindful element, focus on your body and how it feels as you move. Notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of wind on your skin.
  • Rock climbing, boxing, weight training, or martial arts can make it easier to focus on your body movements—simply because if you don’t, you could get injured.
  • If you’re struggling to find the energy or motivation to exercise, start by playing your favourite music and moving around or dancing. Once you get moving, you’ll start to feel more energetic.
  • Aim to exercise for 30 minutes or more each day—or if it’s easier, three 10-minute spurts of exercise are just as good.

Tip 5: Reach out to others

You may be tempted to withdraw from friends and social activities following a traumatic event, but connecting face to face with other people is vital to recovery. The simple act of talking face to face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve traumatic stress. Even just a brief exchange of kind words or a friendly look from another human being can help calm your nervous system. Reaching out to others doesn’t necessarily mean talking about the traumatic event. Comfort comes from feeling connected and involved with others you trust.

Do “normal” things with friends and loved ones, things that have nothing to do with the event that triggered your traumatic stress.

If you live alone or your social network is limited, it’s never too late to reach out to others and make new friends.

Take advantage of support groups, church gatherings, and community organizations. Join a sports team or hobby club to meet people with similar interests.

Tip 6: Make stress reduction a priority

While a certain amount of stress is normal, and even helpful, as you face the challenges that come in the aftermath of a disaster or tragic event, too much stress will get in the way of recovery.

Relieve stress in the moment

Mindful breathing. To quickly calm yourself in any situation, simply take 60 breaths, focusing your attention on each out breath.

Sensory input. Does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Or smelling ground coffee? Or maybe petting an animal works quickly to make you feel centered? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment to find what works best for you.

Feel grounded in times of traumatic stress

Sit on a chair, feel your feet on the ground, and your back supported by the chair; look around you and pick six objects that have red or blue in them. This should allow you to feel in the present, more grounded and in your body. Notice how your breath gets deeper and calmer. Alternately, you may want to go outdoors and find a peaceful place to sit on the grass, and feel supported by the ground.

  • Make time to relax
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or Tai Chi.
  • Schedule time for activities that bring you joy—a favourite hobby or pastime, a chat with a cherished friend.
  • Use your downtime to relax. Read a book, take a bath, or enjoy an uplifting or funny movie.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep places considerable stress on your mind and body and makes it more difficult to maintain your emotional balance. Aim for somewhere between 7 to 9 hours sleep each night.

Re-establish a routine—structure is comforting

There is comfort in the familiar. After a traumatic event, getting back to your normal routine as much as possible will help you minimize stress.

Even if your work or school routine is disrupted, structure your day with regular times for eating, sleeping, exercising, and spending time with friends.

Do things that keep your mind occupied (read, watch a movie, cook, and play with your kids), so you’re not dedicating all your attention to the traumatic event.

Tip 7: Eat a healthy diet 

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The food you eat can improve or worsen your mood and affect your ability to cope with traumatic stress. Eating a diet full of processed and convenience food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of traumatic stress while eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, can help you better cope with the ups and downs that follow a tragic event.

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By experimenting with new ways of eating that boosts mental health, you can find an eating plan that not only helps to relieve traumatic stress, but also boosts your energy and improves your outlook.

What next – When to seek treatment for traumatic stress

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To conclude stress can affect anyone,anywhere whether they have been involved in a traumatic experience or read about or even watched it unfold on the news. It is key to act as soon as you feel that you have been affected by events and can no longer deal with the effect on your own. Call a doctor and talk it out with them, seek advice as soon as possible. There are many organisations that can help, but you doctor should be the first stop.

Usually, feelings of anxiety, numbness, confusion, guilt, and despair following a disaster or traumatic event will start to fade within a relatively short time. However, if your traumatic stress reaction is so intense and persistent that it’s getting in the way of your ability to function, you may need help from a mental health professional—preferably a trauma specialist.

One Family is more than just an organisation, we are family. As a family, we provide ongoing support with a personal and caring touch.

Our work begins at the moment of the attack – through rehabilitation, long after the headlines fade – as long as they need us.

We forge a sense of family among all the victims through support groups, retreats, camps and other programs, fostering an environment of mutual emotional and psychological support.

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Traumatic stress is one of the main problems that we at One Family are working with on a daily basis.

If you have been a victim of a terror attack in Israel then we are your family at One Family

 

Credits;

HELPGUIDE.ORG – Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

Source: Emotional First Aid, Gina Ross, MFCC, and Peter Levine, Ph.D.

KATIE ROGERS

*To support the work of One Family please go to www.onefamilyuk.org or contact andrew@onefamilyuk.org for further information.

Bringing Happiness through flowers to victims of terror

Bringing Happiness through flowers to victims of terror

Throughout the summer months, Sophie Vardi, One Family’s UK liaison coordinator, brought happiness to many victims of terror in her therapeutic Floral workshops. Sophie explained that research has been carried out to prove that flowers are beneficial for well-being and healing. In her first summer workshop held in honour of Shavout, 30 bereaved woman learned to make a colorful centerpiece, using roses (flowers of everlasting love), baby breath (flowers of friendship); liasanthus (flowers of hope) and chrysanthemum (flowers of everlasting memories). The event was also attended by Laraine Harris, UK joint vice chair, who said “ It was fantastic! All the ladies were captivated throughout and thoroughly enjoyed the event!”

 

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As part of summer activities for the Youth Division, Sophie made flower crowns at the Gala evening in Modiin. She also ran a similar workshop for children attending the One Family Summer day Evening of the summer camp using paper and plastic bags that were donated by shops in camp.

Finally, as part of a relaxing retreat for injured victims of terror from the recent wave of terror, Sophie ran her flower crown workshop to providing an afternoon of creative therapeutic activity.  

Chani Ben-Izri who was injured by a Grad Missile during Operation Protective Edge said “the workshop brought me so much happiness and relaxation. I love flowers and was so excited to be part of this. Sophie chose specific flowers for each person making sure the flowers brought the light out in each and everyone’s face. It was amazing!”

Therapy sessions help victims of terror from all across Israel at the two One Family centres weekly.

One Family’s structure of assistance is based on victims’ assistance centers located in three locations throughout the country.  Our Ra’anana Victims Center serves victims and families from the central region of Israel.  It is directed by Nava Formansky, whose warm personality and creativity are put to constant use in brightening the lives of the victims in the region.

She is joined in her work by three women who are themselves victims of terror, and who each contribute their special talents and perspectives to the programs and activities coordinated by the One Family Center.

The One Family Center in Ra’anana serves as a social and therapeutic meeting place for terror victim families.  This is the place where they come to dispel the isolation that they feel in their day-to-day lives.  This is the place where they all benefit from a guiding and supportive embrace.  The One Family Center offers a wide variety of activities, workshops and therapeutic treatments from various disciplines, including artistic workshops, jewelry making, cooking, yoga, physical training programs, and individual therapy treatments such as shiatsu, Chinese acupuncture, reflexology, guided imagery and Bach flower remedies, as well as individual and couples counseling with our staff psychologist.

One Family invites those victims who are having the most difficulty dealing with their physical and/or psychological circumstances to take part in intensive therapy workshops. These workshops last three days and employ professionals in various types of therapy in order to help victims on the path to recovery.

One Family’s emotional therapy program brings together psychologists, social workers, expressive therapists, creative therapists, and body and soul therapists. Individual treatment takes place at One Family’s activity centres, and when necessary at the victims’ homes.

Please share if you’ve found this interesting

If you would like to sponsor these sessions please go to www.onefamilyuk.org/donate or contact andrew@onefamilyuk.org

Water Park refreshes terror victims body and soul

Terror Victims Refresh Body and Soul at Water Park

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Water park visits refreshes terror victims  – “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy,” goes the famous show tune. But that sentiment doesn’t ring so true for many residents of Israel’s southern region who suffered the brunt of Israel’s three wars with Hamas.

So with summer temperatures reaching a peak and children’s vacation feeling endless – for the parents and the children – there couldn’t be a better time for One Family’s annual visit to Yamit 2000, one of the biggest and most popular water parks in Israel.

This week, 415 victims of terror and their families spent the day keeping cool by the pool, sliding through thrilling water slides, running through a host of water-based activities for kids, or just relaxing in the shade. It was a day of family fun, a break from routine, and a time to reconnect with old friends in a comfortable and friendly setting.

Most importantly, it was a day to leave behind the daily medley of thoughts and fears that continue to haunt so many who have been hurt by Hamas’s rockets, or live with those who have been injured.

Another Rocket Falls on Sderot

The timing, in fact, turned out to be even better than planned, particularly for residents of Sderot who took part in the visit. Just two days earlier, yet another rocket from the Gaza Strip landed on the town, sending sirens ringing and forcing the residents back into shelters once again.

For those who lived through the many rocket attacks of the past decade, and especially those who suffered injuries from them, the episode brought back so many traumatic memories.

Katy Alyasi, who was injured in a rocket attack in 2014, said everyone in Sderot relives the experience every time they hear the Red Alert siren. “The children were born into trauma,” she said. “Each day, they ask ‘will there be an alarm today?’ as though they are preparing themselves for the possibility of more rockets.

“That’s how it’s been, and that’s how it will be in the future in Sderot.” A day at the water park with One Family, she said, takes people out of that cycle and gives them a respite from the stress and fear.

Raymond Zarviv, who was wounded in a rocket attack on Sderot in 2009, said he makes a point of bringing the family for the “fun day” with One Family every year. “The children get a break from the tension,” he said.

One Family Means Hope and Caring

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Sigal and 3-year-old Tahel at Yamit 2000. Sigal was nearly killed in a stabbing attack in 1995. Tahel suffered serious burns on her back from a firebomb thrown at her car in January.

For many families, particularly large families, a visit to Yamit 2000 is simply impossible both because of the cost and the organization that would be required to bring everyone to Holon for the day.

Sigal Sofer, a mother of seven, said a family outing of this kind was “practically a new mortgage” and was grateful for the respite.  “It’s a chance to refresh and not sit at home with my thoughts running through my head,” she said.

In 1995, Sigal was almost killed in a vicious stabbing attack a few weeks after giving birth to her second child. Twenty years later, terrorists threw a firebomb at her near Beit El. Sigal’s three-year-old daughter Tahel was badly burned on her back from the attack.

Sigal said she looked behind her and saw little Tahel in flames. “I’ve been through a stabbing but nothing is worse than seeing your child on fire,” she said.

 

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Bat El and two of her children. In 2006, a rocket struck her caravan, wounding her oldest child.

Two other children, 10 and 12, were also burned in the attack and Sigal burned her hand trying to put the flames out.

The firebombing, she said, brought back all of the memories of her first brush with terror. But there was a big difference the second time, she said. “This time, we have One Family, and now there are people who take notice of us,” she said.

Another mother named Sigal came with her husband and five children, one of whom was hurt in a rocket attack in 2009 when he was seven years old. The family had spent 23 days in a shelter, and on the day they ventured out, another rocket struck. The family did not have enough time to get back to the shelter.

She said the boy, Aviv, has not recovered emotionally from the attack. He continues feel intense anxiety and has trouble sleeping at night. He cannot be left alone and needs someone with him around the clock.

“Here we can have some inner peace, away from our routine,” she said. “You’re around people sitting and smiling. Not tense at home in front of the TV”.

I live with hope. One Family is hope.”

If you would like to support this annual day out please go to www.onefamilyuk.org/donate or contact andrew@onefamilyuk.org

 

Sheva Brachot in Israel this summer

Sheva Brachot

A huge MAZAL TOV and thank you to the new Mrs Amy Dinkin, who is the co-chair with Zak Kanter of the Young One Family UK Committee! Thanks to Amy, Zak and the other Young One Family UK committee Israeli families living in the south, where Hamas  rockets are frequently launched towards these communities, can use the wonderful healing arts kits created by artists4israel Craig Dershowitz to help reduce risks of PTSD following traumatic events for children! (Praying we won’t ever need them).

One Family UK hosted a sheva brachot  for Amy and her husband David, on Monday night where 80 victims of terror, including bereaved mothers and wounded soldiers who have all been on visits to London with One Family UK had the chance to reconnect with many One Family UK supporters.  It was a wonderful evening enjoyed by all!

sheva brachat

About Artists 4 Israel

Mr. Dershowitz has worked with over 500 artists representing more than 20 countries on 3 continents towards benefiting the land he loves, Israel. For his work, he has been honored by the Mayor of Netanya with a citywide concert, painted live at the Knesset with Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, been presented the Shomer Yisrael award, been honored by Prime Minister Netanyahu and has had the Ministry of Public Diplomacy say of his unorthodox but successful advocacy approach, Craig is “changing our perceptions of PR and having an impact on our policy and style. He is one of, if not the most, successful advocates for Israel.”

Craig came to London last year and helped the Young One Family committee hold an event successfully raising funds for victims in Sderot.

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Yom Ha’atzmaut 2016

Yom Haatzmaut 2016

Two soldiers came to London from Israel to share Yom Haatzmaut with us and visited Jewish schools, speaking to the pupils and sharing their experiences with them. The pupils and the soldiers love these visits, as they learn so much about each other’s lives and have a better understanding of their lives.

During their time in London the soldiers took apart in Yom Hazikaron services at Finchley United Synagogue, visited eight schools, attended fundraising events for One Family and took in the sights of London.

yom haatzmaut

Neta and Amichai by a supporters plane which took them on a day trip

Neta Baluah grew up in Carmiel in northern Israel. She is 28 and works as an economist for the global accountancy firm Deloitte. She is hoping to study an MBA in Business Administration at Tel Aviv University this month.

She has been involved with One Family since her elder brother Nadav, was killed whilst serving in an elite Golani unit in the Second Lebanon War. He is survived by his parents Tammy and Eliphaz, and siblings: Neta and brothers Yotam, aged 24, who is a student of computer science and Roi Ben, aged 17, who is in his final year of high school and is expected to join the army this winter.  

Nadav served in the Egoz Special Force Unit, an Israeli Special Force commando unit and part of the Golani Brigade. He was killed aged 21 on July 20, 2006 along with four other soldiers, in a battle with Hezballah terrorists in Maroun al-Ras during the Second Lebanon War. Neta was an 18-year old conscript soldier at the time. A month and a half before Nadav was killed, Neta and Nadav served on the same army base and he suggested that Neta move to serve as a weapons trainer in the Golani Brigade. The transition into the Golani Brigade was a great privilege for Neta and after her brother’s death she felt that she was continuing in his path. After two years in active duty Neta was released from the army but still serves reserve duty in the Golani Brigade. She also served in Operation Protective Edge (Tzuk Etan) in the summer of 2014.

She first became involved in One Family, when members of One Family visited her family, when they were sitting ‘shiva’, offering both emotional and practical support, explaining how the organization helps Israeli families affected by terror. Neta agreed to attend a three day retreat where she built many close friendships with both One Family staff members and other victims. Starting with this retreat and then by attending many other events and therapeutic activities, One Family became an integral part of Neta’s life

Amichai Gillis, aged 26, formerly served as a commander in the IDF Givati Brigade. He served full military service for three years and is now in the reserves. He is a third year student of Environmental Sciences at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and also works as a security guard in Carmei Tzur, where he lives.  

His father, Dr. Samuel Gillis, 42, who was originally from the UK, worked as a senior haematologist at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, was murdered by Palestinian gunmen as he was driving home from work in February 2001. Amichai’s mother, Ruthi at the time, explained how Samuel represented hope to his patients at the hospital. In treating his patients, he made no distinction between religion, or status. He treated patients suffering from leukaemia and lymphoma, not only from Israel but also from Gaza, Ramallah, Nablus, Jordan and Egypt. One of his patients, an Arab woman, described him as “better than an angel”.  

Amichai has four siblings and the family have been involved in One Family for many years attending therapeutic activities, and camps for bereaved youth organized through the One Family youth division.

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Hope and Healing to Bereaved Children

One Family Summer Camp Brings Hope and Healing to Bereaved Children

One Family understands the trauma of bereavement and injury of victims of terror. Our family can provide the key elements that lead to successful rehabilitation. With this level of trauma, comes a feeling of isolation by singular experience. The perception of being alone affects every element of the recovery and rebuilding process. Our presence and resources ensure that victims and their families never need to feel alone.

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 also 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. If they are under the weather when 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.

 

one family one family one family victims

At One Family Summer 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.

Twelve-year-old Talia said that One Family is a place where she can speak openly about her family’s struggles coping with the loss of two siblings who were killed before she was born. She’s been attending camp since she was in first grade.

“Next year, I’m moving to middle school. A new place with new people. I always find it hard when people ask me “How many siblings do you have?” she said.

“I’m always afraid to answer that I have four siblings, but that’s what I really want say. I do not know how to tell them that I have two siblings who are living and a brother and sister who are dead but that their souls accompanies me everywhere I go. I do not want people to pity me or think about me differently. I just want them to know and to understand the reality which I have grown up in.”

At One Family Summer Camp, she said, “we all have something in common and we all deal with similar things. I found it so much easier to talk and share with my friends here than my friends at school.”

That common ground makes it easier for the kids to make friends, and to feel at ease in their own skin. It is also an essential element in their healing process. By being with others who have experienced the same type of trauma and hearing their stories and struggles, the kids recognize that they are not alone with their pain and can allow themselves to process their loss rather than suppress it.

Six Days of Fun and Friendship

The One Family Summer Camp is essentially a therapeutic experience that also includes a breathtaking amount of fun. In addition to circle time and trust-building activities, the kids get to swim, kayak, and go rafting, play sports and do arts and crafts. They have evening activities that help them bond, and special outings, including a chance to ride on the back of motorcycles, play laser tag, ice skate, and go bowling.  

This year, the campers were treated to a special music workshop with musician Tal Ramon, the son of the astronaut Ilan Ramon. Tal lost his father in 2003, a few weeks before his bar mitzvah. In 2009, his brother Assaf, a noted pilot with the Israeli Air Force, was killed in a training accident. His loss made it easy for him to relate to the campers, who responded enthusiastically to his music.

Equally important to the experience, however, is the chance to form friendships with other bereaved children. The trust that develops between them over the course of the week makes it possible for the kids to open up and overcome their reluctance to share what they experienced.

At the gala closing ceremony, eight year old Naama Fraenkel, whose brother Naftali was one of three boys kidnapped and killed in 2014, told the camp about how her friendships with other campers made it easier to talk about her experience.

“At camp, one of the important activities we did was talk about what we dream about,” she said. “I wanted to talk about my dream that Naftali comes back, but I was really shy. I told them that I had a dream but I do not want to tell it. Today, now that I have become closer with the girls in my group I have told them about it and I am no longer shy.”

She also spoke about the bond that forms between campers and counselors. “One Family counselors are like father and mother as well as friends, when I’m sad they come and sit next to me and talk to me. They share my sadness with me but they do not cry. It helps me. It strengthens me,” she said.

Ayala, 9, has been a member of One Family since first grade. Her father was killed when she was 2 years old. She said the relationship she’s built with her counselor makes the camp experience much more enjoyable.

“I love my time in One Family,” she said. “When counselors come to my house, we cook together or hikes together. We dance and laugh. They spend time with me at home and make me happy.  They become friends with the whole family, and when they visit, we all sit together as a family, but also we have someone who will be there for us……

One Family is the family of Israel’s victims of terror attacks – those who have been bereaved, those who have been maimed, and those suffering from post-trauma as a result of terrorist attacks since 2001.

Israel’s victims of terror attacks ARE One Family

One Family is the premier national organisation that rehabilitates, reintegrates and rebuilds the lives of Israel’s thousands of victims of terror attacks.

One Family is a unique family of professionals, volunteers, supporters and victims – bereaved, maimed and traumatized – young and old – Jews and non-Jews.

One Family empowers victims of terror to rebuild their lives, rehabilitate and reintegrate through emotional, legal, and financial assistance programs geared toward each of the following: Orphans, Bereaved Parents, Parents of Injured Children, Widows and Widowers, Young Adults, and Youth Injured and Bereaved.

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If you would like to sponsor next years camp please go to www.onefamilyuk.org/donate or contact andrew@onefamilyuk.org

   

Bereaved Mothers Group January 2016

Bereaved Mothers Group January 2016

One Family brought over a group bereaved mothers from Israel to London for a respite week at the end of January. The ladies were all hosted with families in the Hampstead Garden Suburb community in North West London.

one family one family one family one family one family bereaved

The group, of 22 bereaved mothers and grandmothers aged between 40 and 70, visited landmarks including Parliament, Madame Tussauds, the V & A and the London Eye as well as a visit to the theatre during the week

One of the ladies in the group, Bracha Kupinsky, 66, who lost her son in the Har Nof synagogue in Jerusalem in November 2014, said that the visit had been a “moving experience” adding that “Everyone has been really concerned about each other and offered support.”

Her son Aryeh,  a father-of-six, was one of five murdered while praying at the shul. Bracha said “Aryeh fought back and, in the process, about 12 people were saved. He restrained one of the terrorists behind him and fought the other one off.”

She added: “Every loss is a deep loss. Aryeh is very much missed in the community and by his family. This trip to the UK has been a wonderful time out for me.”

She added: “All the people on the trip suffer with pain. I cope because I can move on. But I can’t forget it. It’s a part of my life.”Molly Palmer, 72 who lost her son Asher and grandson Yonatan in a rock-throwing attack near Hebron, said: “My son’s wife was left without her husband and without her baby – and she was five-months pregnant at the time. She was in shock for months. One Family has been so helpful for her.”

The group were also hosted at a welcome evening, a Patrons evening hosted in Stanmore, a communal shabbat lunch at Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue and a leaving party that evening.

They were waived off on Sunday for their return to their families in Israel by the hosting committee and families, returning to Israel with newly made friends and the knowledge that One family are here to support them always.

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Terror attack takes husband and baby

One Family is the family of Israel’s victims of terror attacks – those who have been bereaved, those who have been maimed, and those suffering from post-trauma as a result of terrorist attacks since 2001.

Israel’s victims of terror attacks ARE One Family.

One Family is the premier national organisation that rehabilitates, reintegrates and rebuilds the lives of Israel’s thousands of victims of terror attacks.

One Family is a unique family of professionals, volunteers, supporters and victims – bereaved, maimed and traumatized – young and old – Jews and non-Jews.

One Family empowers victims of terror to rebuild their lives, rehabilitate and reintegrate through emotional, legal, and financial assistance programs geared toward each of the following: Orphans, Bereaved Parents, Parents of Injured Children, Widows and Widowers, Young Adults, and Youth Injured and Bereaved.

one family terror
Puah Palmer

In this blog we hear Puah’s terrible story in her own words and how she continues after losing her husband and baby in a terror attack.

“My name is Puah, and I am 31 years old, and I live in a town called Tekoa, close to Jerusalem. 


My brother had set me up with his close friend, Asher. When we met, Asher was serving in the army and I was working as a nurse in the cardiac department of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. We married, and four months after our marriage, Asher finished his army service and returned to learn in Yeshiva. Within three months I was pregnant with our first child. I gave birth to a beautiful blue-eyed boy two days before Rosh Hashana.

Asher and I were overjoyed, and we named him a name that we both loved, Yonatan. As a new family, life progressed, and the following summer Asher began his studies in mechanical engineering.


One year later, shortly before Yonatan’s first birthday, we were going to have Shabbat with my parents in Jerusalem. Since I worked the morning shift at the hospital, Asher was going to pick up Yonatan from the playground and drive to the hospital to pick me up.


I waited and waited for them. It wasn’t like Asher to be late. I tried calling him, but there was no answer. I finally took a taxi to my parents’ house. I began to fear. Two policemen came at 5pm to report that my Asher and little Yonatan were killed in what looked like a car accident. In my heart, I knew this was no accident. After an investigation, it was revealed that Asher was killed by a head injury after a large rock was thrown at his windshield by terrorists from an oncoming car. This was a new tactic of terror attacks on the road. Asher’s car then crashed into a ditch and my baby boy, Yonatan, was killed. At this time, I was five months pregnant with our second child.” 

One Family has been helping Puah with her recovery as day to day life continues.

How One Family helps

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.

One Family’s structure of assistance is based on victims’ assistance centers located in three locations throughout the country. Our Ra’anana Victims Centre serves victims and families from the central region of Israel.  It is directed by Nava Formansky, whose warm personality and creativity are put to constant use in brightening the lives of the victims in the region.

She is joined in her work by three women who are themselves victims of terror, and who each contribute their special talents and perspectives to the programs and activities coordinated by the One Family Centre.

The One Family Center in Ra’anana serves as a social and therapeutic meeting place for terror victim families.  This is the place where they come to dispel the isolation that they feel in their day-to-day lives.  This is the place where they all benefit from a guiding and supportive embrace.  The One Family Centre offers a wide variety of activities, workshops and therapeutic treatments from various disciplines, including artistic workshops, jewelry making, cooking, yoga, physical training programs, and individual therapy treatments such as shiatsu, Chinese acupuncture, reflexology, guided imagery and Bach flower remedies, as well as individual and couples counseling with our staff psychologist.

One Family invites those victims who are having the most difficulty dealing with their physical and/or psychological circumstances to take part in intensive therapy workshops. These workshops last three days and employ professionals in various types of therapy in order to help victims on the path to recovery.

One Family’s emotional therapy program brings together psychologists, social workers, expressive therapists, creative therapists, and body and soul therapists. Individual treatment takes place at One Family’s activity centres, and when necessary at the victims’ homes, in order to help them deal with their trauma and depression.

Couples, family and group therapy sessions take place at the One Family activity centres in Ra’anana and other locations throughout the country, and may include people with similar injuries or forms of bereavement, or may be comprised of victims from a particular attack.

There are other organisations in Israel helping terror victims, however, One Family offer the professionalism akin to a major medical organisation by offering the services of fully qualified psychologists, counselors, physiotherapists all in one place, allowing the victims to get all they need without looking to numerous organisations.

One moment in time can change a life forever. Please make your moments count and support Israel’s victims of terror.

For each victim of terror, the support offered by One Family is personalised to his or her needs. For some, One Family helps them locate work; for others, One Family offers a chance to participate in retreat where they can connect with other victims. Still others, after isolating themselves for many months or even years, may join One Family’s soccer team or cooking classes. Below are just a few of the programs sponsored by One Family UK

Bereaved Parents – £500 enables a bereaved mother or father to participate in a three-day retreat, where they have the opportunity to meet with other bereaved parents, and join in professionally-run activities to help them cope with their loss.

Therapeutic Youth-Camp Scholarship – £1,000 pays for a young victim of terror to take part in a therapeutic camp experience where they participate in expressive arts, sports, outdoor adventure and therapeutic group programming.

Adopt a Family – £7,500 per year provides essential financial and emotional support for a family to help them move forward in their lives after an attack.

Higher Education Fund – £10,000 will enable to university or college aged victim to complete a degree.

One Family understands the trauma of bereavement and injury from terror. Our family can provide the key elements that lead to successful rehabilitation. With this level of trauma, comes a feeling of isolation by singular experience. The perception of being alone affects every element of the recovery and rebuilding process. Our presence and resources ensure that victims and their families never need to feel alone.

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To support the various counselling programs held by One Family please go to www.onefamilyuk.org/donate

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Photography -Therapeutic Empowering Journey to Greece

Therapeutic Empowering Photography Journey to Greece

In April 2016, a group of 31 bereaved siblings from the young adult division, embarked on a four day empowering journey to Salonika in Greece. “Using photography as a tool for therapy each participant was able to take a new perspective on what they see, to zoom in or out on any details they choose -life’s details”, said Meirav Uziel, the trip coordinator.

This four-day empowering journey was specifically designed for young adults who have lost siblings or parents during the current wave of terror, or from wars or earlier terrorist attacks to create a brotherhood between the participants. The group consisted of “seniors” – those who experienced bereavement for some time, alongside “newcomers” who recently entered the world of bereavement. The combination helped newcomers see that life continues after the loss of a loved one, and it helps seniors recognize the progress they have made in their own bereavement process and to see if they are moving in the right direction.

One Family Photography

Avia Turjeman, aged 26 years old is married and a father of one child. Avia’s brother Evyatar z’l was killed in combat during Operation Protective Edge. Upon returning from this therapeutic trip, Avia explained that it was only by attending this shared empowering journey that he could face talking about his fears, especially how to keep the memory of his brother alive.

The therapy takes place through the photography, the interactions between the participants, and the tours and attractions in a foreign city. During the trip, participants took part in daily sessions of therapeutic photography, and support circles. Avia said he felt an instant connection with the participants, especially during the support circles, because despite hardly knowing each other, “we just had to glance at the other and we immediately understand the depth of each other’s pain”.

one family Photography One Family Photography

As part of the therapeutic process, photos that were taken during the day were processed as a group in the evening.  The sharing that takes place provides mutual understanding and helps build tools that will help the youths at home, with their families, and in remembering the loved ones they lost. Ziv Helman, Director of bereaved alumni, said one of the group participants wrote to thank him, upon returning back to Israel. In his letter, he said: “Since I have returned home I have not stopped crying. It is so difficult to return to normal and back to reality. How can I even try to explain to other people what I went through on this journey? It feels impossible to describe the special relationship that the group experienced. The atmosphere was so unique; it was liberating and at the same time it provided a contained space where we understood each other, something that is deeply lacking in everyday life. I just want to say Thank You to One Family for helping me on this journey, a journey which I needed so deeply, yet before I went I did not realize how much. It provided me the air to breathe. I miss everyone so much and hope we will stay in touch!

How we help

One Family understands the trauma of bereavement and injury from terror. Our family can provide the key elements that lead to successful rehabilitation. With this level of trauma, comes a feeling of isolation by singular experience. The perception of being alone affects every element of the recovery and rebuilding process. Our presence and resources ensure that victims and their families never need to feel alone.

One of the primary ways in which One Family assists victims of terror is through emotional support provided through healing retreats, support groups, and therapeutic workshops for bereaved parents, parents of injured children, bereaved or injured young adults, widows and widowers, orphans, bereaved siblings, and wounded or maimed victims of all ages.

Each healing retreat involves up to 200 people of similar experiences that later form into smaller, more localized support groups where victims continue to provide victim-to-victim support, learn from each other’s experiences, and give and receive comfort from each other. At One Family, we strive to overcome terror together.

Through intensive and long-term therapeutic workshops (one-time) and support groups (meet weekly or monthly), terror victims are empowered to deal with their psychological and physical injuries on a daily basis.

How you can help

For each victim of terror, the support offered by One Family is personalized to his or her needs. For some, One Family helps them locate work; for others, One Family offers a chance to participate in retreat where they can connect with other victims. Still others, after isolating themselves for many months or even years, may join One Family’s soccer team ,photography or cooking classes. Below are just a few of the programs sponsored by One Family UK

  • Bereaved Parents – £500 enables a bereaved mother or father to participate in a three-day retreat, where they have the opportunity to meet with other bereaved parents, and join in professionally-run activities to help them cope with their loss.
  • Therapeutic Youth-Camp Scholarship – £1,000 pays for a young victim of terror to take part in a therapeutic camp experience where they participate in expressive arts, sports, outdoor adventure and therapeutic group programming.
  • Adopt a Family – £7,500 per year provides essential financial and emotional support for a family to help them move forward in their lives after an attack.
  • Higher Education Fund – £10,000 will enable to university or college aged victim to complete a degree.

One Family holds periodic healing retreats for bereaved siblings, parents, widows and widowers, and wounded victims, allowing them to socialise with others in similar circumstances, make new friends, and escape the tension and sorrow that engulfs their lives. These retreats feature touring, therapeutic sessions, entertainment, and an opportunity to help the victims feel cared for both emotionally and spiritually. These retreats strengthen victims so that they can return to their homes and families with renewed energy to face their experiences, knowing that someone is there with them.

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You may also like to read https://onefamilyuk.org/therapy-2/

The trip was also documented by Channel 10 Television and was broadcast as part of the Yom Hazikaron memorial shows.

To see the program (in Hebrew), please follow http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=1188155&sid=126