More than a trip to the zoo

Rachel Gaon | OneFamily Volunteer

Being part of klal yisrael is more than just a saying. Its more than just the literal meaning – all of israel. There is something much more powerful, deep and meaningful when saying you, me all of us are part of Klal Yisrael. For centuries the Jewish people have been described as one – all together, one family. But only recently on my arrival to Israel do I completely understand the deeper meaning behind what Klal Yisrael really means. Over the past few weeks during operation Protective Edge I could not wait to get back to Israel. Sitting on my sofa listening to the news I couldn’t feel any more helpless than I had been feeling. But it was time to be proactive! I had to do something that can help, than can help one two or however many that I can. I felt a need to come on a plane arrive at One family and do whatever I needed to do to do in whichever way I can. Walking up to the centre I knew I would be meeting a group of children. I was very excited but part of me was intrigued as to why they were here and my heart saddened. But even if didn’t know exactly why they were here, I knew why I was here, which was to bring the smiles on to their faces and entertain them in whichever way to guarantee they will be giggling and laughing all the way through the day. This, along with the other volunteers was our aim and we had every intention to achieve it. When I arrived at the center I was immediately introduced to group of 4,5,6 year olds. I then realized im going to have to quickly change my English vocab to ivrit –which is always a challenge for me! Thankfully it didn’t take long for the children to warm to me and not leave my side. And we were off to the zoo!! When we arrived at the gate of the zoo we were greeted by a lady and her children. I got chatting to the lady and she started tell me how she was connected to one family. I was taken back when she started to tell me what happened to her and her family. For me, I was more stunned that I knew her story, I heard it before, I had read it somewhere. Hadas and her family were in a terror attack where her husband passed away. Hadas when she was telling me what happened and seeing her with her children I couldn’t help to think I believe that she is a true survivor- physically and mentally. She was able to carry on being an active mother with her injuries as well as being around her children with a smile on her face. Hadas is an Eshet Chiyal and one of the strongest women I think I have met. Her strength to keep her head high, carry on being a mother to her beautiful children was something I looked up to. Walking through the zoo arm in arm with the children was so wonderful, their smiles and laughter resonated through the walk ways and paths of the safari we were taking. We sang, played and made animal noises all day. It was as if I had met the children for years, I really felt as if I grew a kesher with them. At the end of the day we took the group to have Pizza. I think by the end of the day everyone was really hungry! I asked them in m broken ivrit if they had a fun time and what was the best part of their day. They all agreed that they had a lot of fun. One mentioned that seeing the kangaroos was the best part, other said the elephants another said a monkey! Holding the childrens hands I was praying to Hashem that they will soon feel less pain as time goes on and they grow up t be the happy and determined young adults. The words of David Hamelch came to me(Hazrnim badima barinah yiksoru. )“those who sow in tears will reap with joy.” No one can understand why horrendous acts happen and I can’t understand the pain that anyone who had a terror attack that struck their family feels and I cant put into words what I want to say but I hope that one day they will have joy amongst them and their families soon. Being in the presence of heroes is one thing, but being in the presence of the family and friends who keep their name going and carry on living is another. It is an honour to be surrounded by people with such strength and love. It is an honour to be around the families of those who have lost someone and to speak and help them in whichever way I can. The Jewish people is one family. We share the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs, triumphs and tragedies and together as a klal we stay together as one family. Many people said kol haavod to me for coming …why… ive not done anything different that a family would not do for one another .

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