It’s never easy to relieve emotional pain after a losing a sibling. But a special group of people in London made it their business to make sure that 18 young adults from Israel, who had lost siblings in Israel’s various wars, including last summer’s “Operation: Protective Edge” would experience a life-changing week in the UK. OneFamily’s Young Adults Division, sent the group to London during the summer, so they could simply jet-away from their bad memories.
They were embraced by OneFamily UK’s London’s Jewish community, who opened their homes and hearts to each and every participant. The trip featured various whirlwind tours around metro London that included both indoor and outdoor attractions. The distance from Israel also allowed the participants to engage each other and open-up about their common bereavement, which led to the forging of new emotional bonds between the participants.
“It was week, where I met people who just wanted to give non-stop and hug you for just for a second, without letting go. A week that provided me with the strength to go on and a week where I met others like me who also experienced tragedy, where we all learned how to cope with tragedy in different forms,” said Vered Shachori, 25, who lost her brother, Eliav Kachlon, during last summer’s “Operation: Protective Edge”.
A few weeks after the group’s return from the UK, they gathered in Herzliya Pituach for the Sheva Brachot celebration of Tamir Kalengal and his new wife Tamar. (They got married upon Tamir’s return from London).
The group was also treated to a slideshow presentation which included highlights from their trip to London, as well as a moving speech from Michal Keinan, bereaved sister of Avihu Keinan, Z’L, who was killed in September 2003, during an anti-terrorist operation in Gaza.
Michal recalled, “The highlight of the trip was meeting members of the community in London and their families, who exhibited so much warmth and love, where even when said ‘Todah’, they would reply, ‘Why are you even saying thank you?’ We were excited and thrilled to discover that while the London Jewish community might physically be far away from Israel, their hearts were so near and dear to us and that quite frankly, this was amazing! For me personally, in the course of one week I experienced something so special, so wonderful, it was impossible to imagine. One action-packed week that united our group in an unbelievable fashion.”