OneFamily Fund urges tourists to visit terror victims
Organization calls the encounters a 'meaningful experience for everyone involved.'
By RUTH EGLASH
A 20-minute visit to hear the story of a bereaved family or individual affected by terrorism can help in their healing process and be a meaningful experience for everyone involved, according to Chantal Belzberg, vice chairman of the OneFamily Fund.
This week the group launched a special campaign aimed at encouraging visitors from abroad to show their solidarity with Israel's victims of terror by visiting them at home.
"Families who have lost a loved one to terrorism or those who have experienced it directly really appreciate the attention from those visiting from abroad and want to know that they have not been forgotten by the international Jewish community," explained Belzberg.
"At the same time, people coming to Israel are always looking for a meaningful experience to do or for an opportunity to do a mitzva," she said. "This really is a mitzva."
Belzberg said the idea came to her recently when friends were visiting Israel to celebrate their son's bar mitzva.
"They'd been to Yad Vashem, the City of David, the beach and all of the other tourist places, but they told me the part that they would never forget was hearing the story of a bereaved family," she said.
Although the subject matter might seem intense, Belzberg insisted that meetings arranged by OneFamily are taken in the spirit of giving and charity.
"It's really all about giving a family that is hurting some honest attention," she said. "Most of our members have moved on a little from their terrible experiences, but they just like to know that others are still thinking about them and identify with their struggles. It gives them tremendous encouragement."
OneFamily currently provides assistance to more than 3,500 families that have become victims of terror since 2000, as well as bereaved families from the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead.
Its main activities include emergency assistance to families in hospitals, as
well as financial help, workshops, support groups and camps for children. Ahead of the Pessah holiday, the non-profit organization distributed food coupons totaling NIS 140,000 to some 400 needy bereaved families here.
Those interested in participating in the home visits should call (054) 664-4216 or (054) 212-5692.
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