J'lem congregation does its part to help Sderot residents recover

Mission's organizer: We are a community, and we should act like a community to help people in need.

sderot business shops (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
sderot business shops
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Outlining life for Sderot youth, some of whom have seen friends killed or wounded by Kassams, a Sderot social worker detailed their problems and other challenges facing the town during a visit by members of a Jerusalem synagogue on Friday. "How can school be important after you witness something like that," asked Shira, surveying the behavioral problems that have been increasing among the youth. "Social workers receive training to deal with trauma, but teachers do not. I can't blame them for not being able to handle these kids, but it's a huge problem." "The Kassams were the straw that broke the camel's back," she told the visitors from the Shira Chadasha synagogue in the capital. "Sderot is such a mix of people and has been neglected since its founding. It has a lot of problems and the rockets falling all the time on top of everything else was just too much to handle. "In the beginning when there was one rocket every couple of months and no one was wounded, it was sort of funny" because the rockets were so ineffective, she explained. "Now each successive wave is harder to deal with; it never gets any easier...I find myself walking down the street thinking about where I can hide if a rocket falls. I just bought Crocs and it crossed my mind that it would be easier to run if the strap was down than up." The visitors had come for the day to try to help the residents in some small way. Some 20 adults - and one baby - helped make up bags of basic food staples to be distributed to the needy during their visit. "Two tunas, one can of preserves, one flour and one bag of chips per bag," the young woman doing her national service instructed the group. Rallying to the cause, they packed 443 bags in under an hour to be distributed at a later date. Alexandra Benjamin of Jerusalem, who organized the synagogue's mission to Sderot, explained why she felt it was important to visit now. "I felt that there was this thing going on in our country and people were living under this huge threat and for most of us, it was like nothing was happening. Unlike last summer, there was no mass national mobilization of people. "I also felt that many Israelis wanted to help but had no idea what to do or how to do it. As a community, we believe in our responsibility to wider society. We are not just disparate people who come together to pray, but a kehilla (community) and therefore it seemed to me imperative that we should act as a kehilla to support those in need, whether they be in Jerusalem or Sderot or anywhere else in the country.