OneFamily’s four day retreat for widows and their children was jam packed with activities and therapeutic and water workshops and support groups, offering the mothers a brief respite and a relaxing atmosphere where they could sit and talk to each other, embrace one another other and rejuvenate their energies, knowing that their children were cared for by the OneFamily staff, counsellors, babysitters and volunteers.
The extended weekend was jam-packed with activities and included rafting, art workshops, bowling, ice skating, a jeep trip, woodwork and learning to make silk flowers. There were therapeutic and water workshops and lectures for the mothers, in addition to support meetings and crafts. There was a visit to Kibbutz Dafna where they walked the course of the stream, and picnics.
The four day retreat took place for the third year in a row, offering the mothers a brief respite and a relaxing atmosphere where they could sit and talk to each other, embrace each other and rejuvenate their energies, knowing that their children were cared for by the OneFamily staff, counsellors, babysitters and volunteers. For some of the mothers it was the first time they had the opportunity to meet with others just like them.
“After a terror attack, it is those that are left behind that we support,” said Chantal Belzberg, Executive Director of OneFamily. “This retreat brought widows and their kids together – amazing women and children who every day continue living, growing, smiling and sometimes crying but always living. It is so special to be together with them and do our small part in supporting them.”
“There was so much love and so much giving from the staff and volunteers to the widows and their children,” said one of the mothers. “If only Israel knew just how much OneFamily does for these families. They give to us so much – mentally, economically and support us with love.”
Yael Shevach, one of the mothers at that four-day retreat wrote this on her Facebook account:
“I had planned not to go, and that I would not enjoy myself. But here I am. I’m finally here, participating, enjoying myself, taking photos and taking part. Because despite the paradox, and despite wanting to say “I don’t belong here,” and despite my former normal sense of wisdom, and that I have no part of it – I belong. And I am personally involved. All of us here at the OneFamily camp, (the amazing OneFamily premier organization that cares for terror victims), for all the wrong reasons, by mistake we are here. A very costly mistake,that I wished never happened. But despite everything we are here, living, enjoying, and happy. All of us have in common sadness, negativity, but all of us also have a mutual desire to find happiness and life. And we are succeeding despite everything we have gone through. Perhaps because of everything.”
“The experience I took from the amazing retreat was the fact that I was capable of participating. My first vacation since I became a widow. All because of OneFamily. A big thank you to everyone that was responsible for arranging the retreat, you thought of every detail, no matter how small. An organization that sets an example. Thanks to everyone including the OneFamily coordinators without their insistence I would not have come,” one of the mother’s said.
“The retreat boosted our self-confidence and allowed us to be ourselves,” another participant said.
OneFamily embraced us with open arms, another mother said. She said the retreat “allowed me to rest while my children enjoyed themselves without me having to be by their sides. Nothing is self-evident. Thank you for taking me and my children to stay in a hotel, a step I would not have done on my own. “