When people enter early adulthood, they are often preoccupied with starting new careers, advancing in their fields, or completing study programs. They have little time to look after their personal needs, especially when they lost close family members in terrorist attacks.
To help create a space for healing and bonding with others who have suffered in a similar way, OneFamily brought 15 members of the Young Adult Division to London on a six day visit. Each participant is a bereaved sibling, and the brief respite from their daily lives allowed them to focus on coping with their grief together.
The group toured the major attractions of the city, met with local supporters, and spent time getting to know one another. They were hosted by families from the London suburbs of Mill Hill and Totterbridge, who opened their homes and their hearts to the young terror victims.
“They care about our loss, and consider it like their own loss,” one of the members of the group said about his host family. “They have done more than just host us. They made us feel like family.”
Shmuel, whose father Yosef, brother Elad, and sister Chaya were brutally murdered and mother Tovah severely injured in his father’s home in Halamish in July, delivered an emotion tour-de-force when he spoke publicly about the murders.
He told the story of how his wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. His whole family was excited, and they gathered in Halamish to celebrate. But during that celebration, a terrorist with a knife came in pretending to be a guest and carried out the grisly killings. “The terrorist chose my home because he had heard laughing, because at that moment they were celebrating the birth of my son. He went and destroyed this happiness.”
He said he was reluctant to come on the trip at first “because it was only four months since it happened, but I don’t regret for a minute that I came,” he said. “I made amazing new friends. Together we laughed, we cried, we talked, and we ate a lot. There is an amazing atmosphere on this trip, because all of us chose life, we chose to live.”
Shmuel speaks in London from OneFamily on Vimeo.
Etti, whose brother Eliav was killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014, said the trip had a powerful effect on her life. “I came out stronger than I came in and I thank you for that,” she said. “The friendships that were formed on this trip will last a lifetime, as the group already has plans for future meetups so they can stay in touch.
“Nothing can heal the pain, but now we know we aren’t carrying it alone.”
Read more about this trip in the news:
Israeli Teens From Bereaved Families Hosted by Top London Soccer Team