Nature Therapy helps to heal

Nature Therapy for Bereaved Fathers to Heal and Bond

Bereaved fathers experienced the healing power of nature therapy in the gorgeous hills of Neot Kedumim in Israel.

Nature therapy is designed to harness the healing power of the natural world. Time spent in outdoor activities has been shown to reduce anxiety, rumination, and negative feelings – maladies that are common among people who have experienced the trauma of losing a child to terror.

It also has the power to bring people together because many of the tasks they were asked to perform could not be done alone but required teamwork and cooperation.

The bereaved father’s herded sheep, built a rope bridge, and practiced archery. They hiked the trails and created stone art with stones that were too heavy for any one person to move on his own. The activities helped them quiet their minds and demonstrated the importance of accepting support from other people.

 

“Men often find it difficult to seek support, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need it,” said one of the psychologists who works with the fathers. “Getting support is always better than going through the process alone.”

In the beauty of the biblical landscape, the message become increasingly clear as the day went on – no one has to cope with his bereavement on his own. Other people understand their pain and are willing to help them cope.

The group dynamics created that day will continue to develop throughout the year, establishing a powerful support network for bereaved fathers that will benefit them for a long time to come.

If you wish to make a donation please go to www.onefamilyuk.org/donate

For further information please contact andrew@onefamilyuk.org

Israel Mourns Ari Fuld

Thousands gathered to mourn Ari Fuld

 

From late Sunday night into early Monday morning in Kfar Etzion, a religious kibbutz in the West Bank.

Ari Fuld, 45, left his home for a routine shopping trip and became a national legend for the way he shot a terrorist after he himself was mortally wounded near the Rami Levy supermarket in the Gush Etzion junction.

The father of four, Fuld was the grandson of a Holocaust survivor and had miraculously dodged a bullet while serving as an IDF soldier in Lebanon.

“If there is one word to describe my brother, it was a hero,” his brother Moshe told the mourners who surrounded the small chapel on the edge of the Kfar Etzion cemetery just after midnight on Monday.

“Who else could manage upon sustaining a fatal  injury, to draw his pistol, jump a fence and shoot his attacker to make sure that his attacker would not hurt anyone else; only my brother, only my brother,” Moshe said.

Courage was not just something that came to him in his death, said Moshe, adding that Ari. “was a hero in every aspect of his life.”

Moshe was one of many family members who described a man of strong convictions who stood his ground against all odds. A scholar, with a sense of fun, Ari loved his family, his country and his religion.

Born in New York, Ari immigrated to Israel in 1994. The dual US-Israeli citizen lived in Efrat with his wife Miriam, and was the father of three. He served as a sergeant in an elite paratroopers unit in the IDF reserves, and also served on the Efrat emergency squad.

A well-known pro-Israel advocate his Facebook page stated: “Living the dream! I have a love for the Nation of Israel, Land of Israel and Torah of Israel.”

“Ari never did things half way, whether it was his family, his love for his country, his love for Efrat, his all encompassing religious observance, his karate, his commitment to the security team.

“He was a scholar like no other. His head was always in the Talmud. He went through those pages, like us normal folk read a novel. The thirst for that next page, he could not put it down for anything.

“He was the most grounded person I know,” Moshe said, adding that he was able to stay focused and never neglect other facets of his life. “He had the weight of the world because he put it there and yet he managed to be everything for everyone,” Moshe said.

Ari’s wife Miriam spoke of how her husband had kept the shrapnel that had lodged in his bullet proof vest while he served in Lebanon. He also kept small notebooks in which he jotted down his thoughts during his IDF service.

His wife Miriam, read some of those words, in which he spoke of the importance of courage and his prayer that G-d would let the IDF persevere over their enemies.

“I pray only that I won’t die. I hope that the fear will subside,” Miriam read.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

made a surprise visit to Gush Etzion to visit the Fuld family prior to the burial.

“We are alive because of heroes like Ari. We will always remember him,” Netanyahu said adding that the embraced the family in the name of the nation of Israel.

Earlier under the night stars, teenagers gathered in the Gush Etzion parking lot to bid farewell to Fuld, a well-known social media personality and Israel advocate.

They carried Israeli flags, played guitar, sang mournful songs and placed candles on the pavement in the shape of a Star of David.

Well-known in Jewish communities around the globe, Fuld was assistant director of Standing Together, an organization that supports IDF soldiers. He was an outspoken defender of Israel in the media and online, regularly engaging with Israel’s critics through his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

 

To make a donation to assist victims of terror please go to www.onefamilyuk.org/donate

Terrorist Murders Father of Two Small Children

Stabbing leaves two children without their father

OneFamily is deeply shocked and devastated by the murder of Yotam Ovadia in a cold-blooded stabbing attack on Thursday, July 26 in Adam that also wounded two other people.

 

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Yotam with his family

Yotam, 31, was the father of two small children ages 2 and 10 months, and 7 months. May his memory be a blessing.

The murder robs the family of their loving father and husband, and leaves a widow and two more orphans too young to remember life before their family was shattered by terror.

The terrorist, a 17-year old Palestinian from a nearby town in the West Bank, infiltrated the town of Adam and began stabbing people he encountered, starting with a 58-year-old man, who was moderately wounded, and then Yotam. A third man heard Yotam’s screams and ran to help, sustaining a stab wound before shooting the terrorist.

The murder took place on the night of Tu B’Av, which is similar to Valentine’s Day in Israel. Yotam had brought flowers for his wife Tal and the couple put their children to sleep. He then went to his parents’ home to collect items he had purchased for a romantic dinner.

He never returned.

OneFamily has reached out to the Ovadia family. We are at their side through the difficult mourning period and will continue to be there through the stages of grieving that follow. We will stay at their side as long as they need us so that they never feel alone.

At his funeral, Tal spoke about Yotam as a devoted husband and father.  “I do not know what will happen to me now regarding the children. I do not know how to continue to be strong for the children,” she said.

“We were everything to him, the house was his kingdom. Yotam was a humble and modest working man. He loved me and the children in a way I never saw. Everything he did was only for us. He always made sure it was good. He always put himself last,” she said.

His father also spoke about the fate of Yotam’s children, who will grow up not knowing the father who loved them so much. “The heart breaks at the sound of your little son calling, ‘Daddy, Daddy.’ The little boy cannot go on without you,” he said.

Please help ensure OneFamily is able to help the Ovadia family and other terror victims who need us.

Please donate here to OneFamily today!

Terror victims attend events in Israel – read more here

Victims of terror have attended events in Israel this year supporting their needs and making new friends.

Read more about them all here:

Our newsletter will be available soon featuring many more news items and ways in which you can help support victims of terror.

 

Terror victims Purim party

At the Purim party this year Chantal Belzberg spoke about the idea of masks and victim of terror put on a mask every day and so did the deputy speaker of the Knesset who is a victim of terror herself. MK Yehuda Glick also urged the victims to take strength from Purim.

All the staff dressed up and it was a very special evening.

One lady who I spent some time with was injured in the April 18 bus bombing last year. Today her face was glowing and she looked so healthy, yet obviously still carrying the pain of what she went through.

This was the first OF event she said she was attending. Interesting enough she worked for many years in 8200 – Israel secret unit.

Her training clearly helped save her life but she was so representative of the human spirit and the wonders of medicine. A true heroine of Israel. She said she appreciates One Family so much but she finds it hard to talk to others because she has been trained for so many years not to talk, but now she is learning to be a civilian and hopes to attend more events in the future.

Another incredible man was someone from Beit Shean who was in a terror attack where he was shot eight times in his face and body  but he has such an “or panim- a light in his face” it was so amazing to meet him.

There were so many special people gathered together under the auspices of One Family .The One Family Bereaved Men’s Choir gave a brilliant performance at our Purim Party. Click on the photo to see and hear for yourself. Every member of the choir has lost a child. They come together to support each other by singing. They meet once a week. Please show your support by inviting them to perform in your community.

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Widowed Yoga Instructor Holds Three-Day Workshop by the Sea

Bereaved mothers participate in therapeutic yoga workshop led by yoga instructor, Miri, a victim of terror who uses yoga to help heal the pain.

“Miri enriched us, both our bodies and our souls! She helped us breathe, release and heal our pain,” one participant told One Family after the workshop. “I felt strengthened spending these days with the group; the strength of each woman who had similar experiences to me was something I found deeply empowering.”

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Orphans of Both Parents Honoured at Reception at President’s Residence

President Reuven Rivlin showed his support for One Family and victims of terror at a special Tu B’Shvat seder with members of our Orphans Division, who lost both parents in terrorist attacks

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Bereaved Parents Bond and Heal to prepare for Yom Hazikaron

Each year, One Family holds a healing retreat for bereaved parents on the Shabbat before Yom Hazikaron to strengthen the families as they prepare for one of the most intense and difficult and days of the year.

This year, more than 340 people took part in the three-day retreat, held at a hotel outside Jerusalem. The couples participated in bonding activities, therapeutic workshops, and group therapy sessions.

Most importantly, they spent time with one another, in a setting that allowed them to speak freely about the children they lost to terror. We call that The Power of Together. Instead of spending energy holding their feelings inside , the bereaved parents were among hundreds of other people who understood the challenges they face and they were able to focus on their loss, so they could meet Memorial Day with strength and confidence.

Following the retreat, many of the parents wrote letters of thanks for helping them find the inner strength they need to face both the day of remembering and the coming year.

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Women’s seminar for victims of terror

In July, One Family hosted an amazing seminar for nearly 600 women – orphans and widows, younger and older – who came together for a day inspiration and empowerment. The theme was “baseless love” and the love spread through the hall thanks to rousing speeches from – Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi,  Lihi Lapid, MK Ayelet Shaked, Renana Meir Cohen and Sivan Rahav-Meir and more.

Widows retreat in August

In August there was a three-day Widows retreat in Kfar Giladi for widows and their children. Summer is a particularly hard time for widows, so to help make the summer vacation a little easier, One Family widows enjoyed activities with their children including Trampoline Park, rafting and relaxing in the hotel swimming pool! The retreat gave a special opportunity for the widows to connect to their children in a relaxed environment without the strain and pressure of everyday life that the widows have had to cope with following the murder of their spouse.

Sukkot at One Family for victims of terror

One Family offered its supporters the opportunity to purchase a lulav and etrog set and to raise money for One Family.

One Family friends and supporters to visit terror victims in their sukkah.

The Youth Division held a number of activities for its members during this holiday time, including day trips to a surfing school in Tel Aviv, a scavenger hunt in Jerusalem, an outdoor activity park in Holon and in the Gush and also the Senior Youth Division welcomed new members with a midnight hike through the Negev.

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Mount Hermon retreat

In February, 350 injured victims and their families attended a day retreat in Mt Hermon.

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Inspiration and Resilience at the Jerusalem Marathon

More than 300 athletes joined Team One Family at the Marathon this year. Victims of terror and their supporters ran side-by-side, and many more joined the team to cheer the runners on and keep spirits high throughout the day.

It was a show of defiance for terror victims, many of whom were injured or bereaved in Jerusalem. For some, it was a return to the very place where their trauma took place.

“The streets of Jerusalem have seen too many tragedies,” said One Family CEO Chantal Belzberg. “Running through these same streets with pride, not fear, is a powerful statement that terrorism won’t succeed, and that we can overcome terror together.”

This year’s team included terror victims Renana Meir, whose mother Dafna was stabbed to death in her own home in 2016; Hadas Mizrahi, who was severely injured and her husband Baruch was killed in a road shooting on the way to the family Seder just before Passover in 2014; and Naftali Moses, whose son Avraham David was killed in the attack on the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva in 2008.

Other terror victims included children from One Family’s Youth Division, who ran alongside their counsellors and supporters.

“Seeing all of the red One Family t-shirts all around was extremely uplifting,” said Renana Meir. “It showed me that people really care, and that is a truly empowering feeling.”

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One Family Soccer Team Wins Eilat Tournament

The One Family Soccer Team took first place in it’s division at the Mehuziota sports tournament in Eilat, showing that the Power of Together can translate into success on the football pitch as well as in their lives.

Although the team’s coach, Ami Ben-David, and players speak about the Mehuziota weekend as a therapeutic opportunity to bond first and soccer second, Ziv Hellman, coordinator of One Family’s Young Adult Division said the two goals have a deeper relationship than people realise.

“What we saw in the games, the great teamwork and cooperation, is really just a mirror of what we were seeing the whole weekend,” he said. “All of the time we were spending together, building trust and understanding, was exactly what made us so successful in the games.”

The team, made up of injured or bereaved victims of terror, is a support group built around the player’s love for soccer. The group meets monthly for social evenings and plays soccer games in a business league in Jerusalem.

The team was joined this year by 3-year-old Natan Bennett, who was made an honorary member of the team. Natan’s father Aharon Bennett was killed in a terrorist attack in 2015. His mother was badly injured and he himself badly injured his foot.

 

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It’s been a busy year and we look forward to supporting the victims at One Family in the year ahead. We hope you have enjoyed reading about our events, if you would like to support the work of one Family UK please go to www.onefamilyuk.org/donate

 

 

Summer event in Israel to support of victims of terror

Support for victims of terror

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

Summer event in Israel

This summer an evening event was hosted by patrons of the charity at their beautiful home in Hertzliya to pay tribute to all the support given to victims of terror by the friends and supporters of One Family UK and to hear about the latest activities in the organisation.

Approximately eighty people gathered to listen to MK Michael Oren who shared his thoughts about also being a victim of terror (His sister in law was killed in a bus bombing in 1991) and how organisations such as One Family are so important. He also spoke about his experiences as former Israeli ambassador to the United States and the challenges he faced. He then signed copies of his recent book Ally :  My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, to give to the guests.

Bereaved sister Michal Hotter sang a song in English that she composed about her late brother who was killed in the 2nd Lebanon war and played beautiful jazz music throughout the evening. Her mother, Elaine, who is originally from the UK spoke on behalf of bereaved parents, how much One Family helps and supports the families and the guests from London had the opportunity to meet some victims of terror who kindly joined them for the event.

Thank you for hosting this special event.

 

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If you would like to support the work of One Family please go to www.onefamilyuk.org/donate or contact us at andrew@onefamilyuk.org

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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.

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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..”

 

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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

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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.

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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

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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