See media coverage of the trip:
Channel 20 (Hebrew)
Four young victims of terror were hosted by OneFamily New York to share their stories of healing, resilience, and finding their inner strength. Each girl on the trip had either lost someone or was injured in a terror attack, and the trip proved to be therapeutic for all of them.
- Orit Mark – 18, she was 16 when her father Rabbi Michael (Mikki) Mark was killed and her mother Chava was severely injured in a road shooting in July of 2016.
- Eden Dadon – 18, she was severely injured in a bus bombing in Jerusalem in April 2016. A bomb had been placed directly behind her seat. When it exploded, it set the bus on fire, leaving Eden with severe burns on most of her body. Her mother Rachel was also injured in the attack. She has been in recovery for the past two years, which is still continuing.
- Tehiya Zagha – 17, she was three years old when terrorists attacked her home on Shabbat evening in 2004 and killed her father, Yaakov Zagha. Her oldest sister, Chani, was also injured in the attack when she tried to carry Tehiya to a safe room.
- Liraz Chai – 18, she was eight years old when her father, Rabbi Meir Chai, was murdered in a shooting attack. The attack took place on Dec. 24, 2009 – the birthday of one of Liraz’s brothers.
All of them are members of our Youth Division for children who have lost parents or siblings in terrorist attacks. They have coped with so much pain and horror. But their time with OneFamily has given them the tools they need to manage their trauma.
They are all growing up to be healthy and productive members of society. The trip was a healing experience for the young women and a chance for our supporters in American to meet them in person. It is one thing to read about stories of courage and resilience. But hearing them tell their stories is something special everyone should experience directly.
Throughout the week, the girls met many people from the New York community who came to support them and show that they are not alone. Nancy Levine, who hosted the girls for Kiddush on Shabbat, said hearing their speeches gave her a strong sense of what OneFamily does for victims of terror:
“To meet and listen to these four young women, was to fall in love with them and to feel their pain and trauma. They inspired us with their beautiful speeches and their courage and resilience.
Thank you to OneFamily, and to cofounder and CEO Chantal Belzberg, for bringing these young heroes into our lives and for all the work you do to nurture, support and care for Israeli victims of terror. In listening to these four heroes and survivors of horrendous acts of terror and to see how they have survived, we were able to see firsthand the power of OneFamily’s work.”
Between speaking appearances, the girls also had had time to see the sights of New York and to get closer with one another. They got a chance to be silly together at the wax museum, enjoy a Broadway theater production, and relax as a group in central park. Other highlights from the trip included a bus tour around New York City, a boat ride to see the statue of liberty, and a visit the UN to meet with Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon.
The therapeutic element of the trip involved taking the young women out of their daily lives and letting them focus on their healing. Bringing them out of their norm helped them bond and share. That understanding was worth hundreds of hours of therapy. For some of them, it was the first time out of Israel. For Eden, it was her first time out of Jerusalem other than trips to the hospital for rehab and treatment.
Orit said dinner time was reserved for discussing their experience with loss and bereavement and how they cope every day at dinner. “It’s amazing to spend so much time around people who understand and want to share,” she said. “You feel so free, in a way that is hard in our regular lives.”
We would like to thank all those who helped make the trip such a success. We are especially grateful to Bracha and Rafael Rosenbaum, Chaim and Sherri Szafranski, Hila and David Sanders, Judi and Alvin Segal, Randi Botek, David Baratz, Liora and David Rosenblum, Nancy and David Siegal, Sarah Klayn, Irit and Chanani Sandler, Andrew and Leah Harary, Wendy Belzberg, Dov and Amy Kesselman, Tolsie Vegh, Tamar Simon and the OneFamily Young Leadership.
If you would like to be involved in hosting an event with our next group in November please be in touch. You can reach as at firstname.lastname@example.org.