OF Jerusalem Center’s Summer Opening: Now is the Time to Bring Happiness to Victims of Terror

Bereaved mother Dalia Mizrachi couldn’t help but smile at the Summer Opening of OneFamily’s Jerusalem Center

“You can’t help but smile in this place,” laughed Dalia Mizrachi as she stood on the third floor of OneFamily’s Jerusalem Center next to a jewelry making workshop for bereaved mothers and widows. “Look what’s happening here. There’s so much energy. There are so many activities. This place is alive! I wish Idit could have seen it.”

A Jewelry making workshop for bereaved mothers and widows at OneFamily’s Jerusalem Center A bereaved mother and her daughter smiling as they wait to see OneFamily’s massage therapist

Idit was Dalia’s daughter – 20-years-old, cheerful, and friendly, with a soft face much like her mother’s. On May 15, 2001 Idit was murdered when terrorists ambushed the car in which she, her father, and brother were driving on the way to a family wedding.

Idit’s death was the last straw for a family already reeling from their firstborn son Shahar’s death during a combat operation in the army a few years earlier. After her death and the trauma of the attack, Dalia and her husband were emotionally distraught, slipping into debt, and feeling very much alone.

Locked together: OneFamily Coordinator Pini Rabinovich speaks with a bereaved father about everything from his financial situation to how he feels about his youngest son beginning army service

“A dark cloud had settled over our lives and we could see no way out,” said Dalia.

But OneFamily was there. After the Mizrachi family’s tragedy, we provided them with several thousand dollars in financial assistance to help them out of debt and presented them with a grant of $1,000 to memorialize Idit. Our social workers checked up on them regularly so they would know they are not alone.

But when it came to joining OneFamily therapeutic workshops and support groups, Dalia was hesitant. She said she didn’t want to sit in a room full of other bereaved mothers and cry; she’d been doing that well enough on her own.

On Sunday June 11, however, at the Summer Opening of OneFamily’s Jerualem Center, all of that changed. It wasn’t at all what she expected. There were no rooms full of woman crying about losing loved ones – in fact, there was no one crying at all. As Dalia herself said, “The place was alive.” She couldn’t help but smile.

Terror victims chatting with each other outide of OneFamily’s Jerusalem Center Two teenage victims of terror hugging at the Summer Opening of OneFamily’s Jerusalem Center A young vicim of terror playing Sheshbesh (Backgammon) with her OneFamily youth counselor

OneFamily invited over 250 victims like Dalia to our new Center to showcase the various therapeutic treatments, workshops, and support groups we will be offering there on a regular basis, and to give Israel’s terror victims a tour of their new home.

For children there were arts and crafts, tug-of-war games, water balloon fights, story telling time, and OneFamily’s army of youth counselors to play with them.

Young victims of terror playing tug of war outside of OneFamily’s Jerusalem Center Daniella, a OneFamily Volunteer, is smothered by young victims of terror

For adults there were all kinds of workshops and therapy sessions throughout the day: a women’s aerobics class taught by widow Maya Rajwan, a Yoga workshop, acupuncture therapy, massage therapy, Pirchei Bach therapy, Rikki, a Japanese energy treatment, jewelry making workshops, flower arranging workshops, and more.

From 3pm in the afternoon to 7pm at night, every room in the 3-story OneFamily Center was packed. And as the sun set, we all went outside for a BBQ and a performance from a live band. It was a celebration. OneFamily supporters Martin and Julie Franklin joined us as well to see how our Jerusalem Center is changing victims’ lives.

OneFamily Acupuncturist and Youth Division Counselor Mikey Porat speaks to a wounded terror victim about the benefits of Acupuncture Mikey gets acquainted with Mali Cohen’s son before giving him acupuncture therapy

Still getting acquainted with each other Mikey pokes Mali Cohen’s 2-year-old son with a small acupuncture needle

As the Bible says, there is a “time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” After the trauma of terror many victims, like Dalia Mizrachi, feel that they face a lifetime of mourning – that the best they can hope for is a break from their tears. OneFamily’s Jerusalem Center aims to give victims hope and help them experience happiness. We believe that now is the time for laughing and dancing, and we’ve created a warm home full of love and therapeutic activities, so that all those who enter cannot help but smile.

An Israeli mother whose son was wounded in the 2004 Bus 19 bombing in Jerusalem

For Dalia, the Center is now her home away from home – a place she can escape to, spend time laughing with other bereaved mother who know what she’s been through, and receive a wide range of treatments to help her keep that smile on her face.

On Monday night, June 12, she’d already returned for a 10-person workshop aimed at helping bereaved mothers let go of the emotional baggage weighing them down. She’s also signed up for Maya Rajwan’s weekly aerobics class.

We look forward to seeing her often. We invite you all to visit as well.

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