One Family News on terror victims – read all about it!

Terror victims news -the work of One Family is varied and every day is different . Here we showcase some recent events which One Family have been involved with together with a short description of a day at Summer Camp. As well as assisting victims of terror , some of our family of victims are using their experiences to help others who have been recently bereaved through terrorism.

Volunteers wedding

Renana Meir, the daughter of terror victim Dafna Meir, with her husband Or Cohen. 

Renana Meir, who witnessed the murder of her mother, Dafna, in January 2016 in a terror attack in their home, was married in a ceremony near Jerusalem recently.

Her father, Natan Meir, remarried a few weeks earlier in a ceremony attended by close family in Jerusalem .

In March 2017, a year after the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Otniel, Meir announced that he was engaged.

Dafna Meir, 38, a mother of four and foster mother of two young children, was stabbed to death in January 2016 at the entrance of her home by a teenage Palestinian attacker. She was fighting off her attacker in what is believed to have been an attempt to save three of her children who were in the house at the time.

Natan Meir thanked his children for their support and sharing in his happiness. Without them, he wrote, “I could not open my heart to love again.”

Renana’s wedding

Renana Meir’s marriage to Or Cohen was celebrated at an sheva brachat hosted by One Family. The guests at the “sheva brachot,” included David Hatuel, whose four daughters and first wife, Tali, were murdered in a shooting terror attack in 2004, and Meir Pavlovsky of Kiryat Arba, who was badly wounded in a stabbing attack in Hebron a year and a half ago.

Chantal Belzberg, CEO of One Family, said: “We are so proud to host the Sheva Brachot for Renana and Or. It has been a tremendous experience getting to know Renana over the past year of her national service at One Family, and it’s astounding to watch her grow into a married woman before our eyes. We have all learned so much from her, just watching how she lives her life. She make everyone feel comfortable, even when they feel they should be the ones comforting her.”

“She speaks about choosing life despite the challenges, and she truly lives the way she speaks. We have grown very close, as all of us at One Family have been able to envelop her with love on a daily basis..”

 

Terror victims

Renana, who was 17 at the time of her mother’s murder, visited her mother’s grave the week before the wedding and placed an invitation to the wedding on it. She posted on social media a photo of the tombstone and the message, “We have put an invitation on your grave and I beg that you arrive. I leave one hand for you on the way to the chupah , please come to hold it.”Renana is a volunteer for One Family.

Summer camp for terror victims

Summer camp for youths who lost loved ones to terror attacks

For many kids who lost loved ones in wars or terror attacks, opening up about their suffering can be difficult. ‘One Family’ allows them to enjoy summer camps together; ‘Here, everyone understands. After the camp I feel stronger.’

From afar it looks like it could be any other summer camp for teens and children on their summer vacation. But in reality, this group, all wearing purple T-shirts, is one comprised of family members who have lost loved ones in terror attacks and wars.

During the summer months, we holds outings for Israelis who have suffered first-hand the tragedies of terror and wars.

“Whenever I would speak about my brother anywhere else people would just freeze. It was difficult for them to speak. Here the environment is easier. You can laugh about everything, speak about everything,” said Yitzhak Sarel, whose brother died during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Youngsters enjoy the camp (Photo: Avihu Shairpa)

Hundreds of these terror victims, intimately, albeit indirectly, affected by terror attacks and wars gather together at the beginning of what Israelis call ‘The Big Vacation.’

On the Monday for example, dozens of motorbikes were brought to the camp from the Israeli Motorcycle Club to a school where the youngsters are gathered. There, the youths were able to hop on the back and take a ride with one of the motorcyclists in the Golan Heights and the upper Galilee.

Photo: Avihu Shapira

“Anyone who knows the experience of riding on a motorbike knows how wonderful it is. It’s a feeling of freedom, space. To see the views from a slightly different angle without telephones. It allows them to demonstrate their presence and say to everyone ‘we are here,’” said Yaniv Yair, one of the riders who brought his stunning BMW bike for a spin.

Yaniv’s brother was also killed after a Katyusha rocket landed near Kibbutz Kfar Giladi during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Photo: Avihu Shapira

“I think this shared fate makes them trust me more. Only someone who has been there knows and understands what it means,” Yaniv explained.

Another one of the participants is Dvir, whose father Rabbi Yaakov Litman and brother Netanel were killed in a 2015 terror attack, also reflected on how it was to be with others who had shared experiences.

Photo: Avihu Shapira

“Here, everyone has gone through something similar. They have lost someone close to them and it makes it a lot easier to open up, to speak about it. Everyone understands that he doesn’t need to be embarrassed. Here, everyone copes with it in his own way. After the camp I feel stronger, with new friends, and more people who understand me.”

Terror attack at Temple Mount

Bereaved Jewish mother comforts mother of slain Druze officer

Relatives of terror victims visit the families of murdered Druze police officers to offer their condolences and share their experiences.

One Bereaved mother consoles another bereaved mother – Meir Pavlovsky

Hundreds of people visited the Druze villages of Hurfeish and Maghar recently to pay their condolences to the families of the two police officers murdered in last Friday’s terror attack at Temple Mount

One Family visits families of terror victims

Among the visitors were Israelis who lost loved ones to terrorism. The visits were arranged by One Family as part of our role assisting bereaved families and victims of terrorism.

Dozens of Israelis, Jews and non-Jews alike, answered the organisation’s call and bordered the buses to visit the families of Command Sergeant Major Hayil Satawi and Command Sergeant Major Kamil Shanaan.

Among the visitors who paid their condolences to the families was Hadas Mizrachi, the widow of Baruch Mizrahi, a resident of Modi’in who was killed in a shooting attack two years ago while traveling with his family to celebrate the Passover Seder.

Following the visit Hadas Mizrachi said: “Unfortunately, we remember that the people who came to visit after the attack gave us a lot of strength, and since my tragedy, I have been visiting families who have become part of the cycle of bereavement. I visited dozens of bereaved families after Baruch was murdered, and I saw with my own eyes how important it is and how much it helps. The support of people who have undergone a similar tragedy is necessary in dealing with loss.”

“I recently visited the family of Hadas Malka, the policewoman who was murdered at the Damascus Gate … As a police widow, I see it as my mission to empower others, and if I managed to get up and continue going on with five children who experienced the attack themselves after my loss, that that is proof that you cannot give up.

Chantal Belzberg, the CEO of One Family said: “Today we sent a message to the families of the policemen who were murdered in the terror attack on the Temple Mount last Friday – you are not alone. The State of Israel lost two dedicated policemen from the best of its sons, who served in the Old City of our capital in order to preserve the security of the State of Israel. We arrived today to console and strengthen the Satawi family and the Shanaan family, who unfortunately joined the list of bereaved families.”

We were joined by tourists from the United States and England, together with the residents of Jerusalem, and Dvora Gonen, the mother of Danny, who was murdered in the attack two years ago, to embrace and share their sorrow and to express the deep connection between the Jewish people in the Diaspora and the Druze. We want to strengthen our alliance with the Druze and to turn this from a bloodbath into a covenant of life,” she added.

Fun and love at the One Family Summer camp helping victims of terror

It’s the summertime retreat

 

summer retreat

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.

summer retreat

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.

summer retreat

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.”

summer retreat

That feeling is the gateway to healing. And it’s happening right now.

summer retreat

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.

summer retreatsummer retreat

Thank you to all of you for making this possible.

If you would like to support future summer camps please go to www.onefamilyuk.org/donate or contact andrew@onefamilyuk.org

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The Big Brother Program – Islands of Safety and Stability

Read here how the Big Brother and Big Sister program helps young victims of terror.

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

cookeryItai 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

cookery

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

big brotherTal 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.

Please go to www.onefamilyuk.org/donate if you’d like to help with the Big Brother and Big Sister program or email Andrew@onefamilyuk.org