OneFamily is an Israeli national organization which assists Israeli victims of terror by providing emotional, financial, and legal assistance. Since 2001, One Family has supported 1,322 families of injured terror victims, 1,340 bereaved families, and 983 injured and bereaved children and teenagers. The OneFamily organization was started upon the initiative of a 12-year-old girl, Michal Belzberg, who decided to cancel her Bat Mitzvah after the Sbarro Pizzeria terror attack during the Second Intifada, choosing instead to raise funds for the victims of this particular terror attack.
The Belzberg family rose over $100,000, thus establishing OneFamily. OneFamily presently consists of 37 professionals and over 700 volunteers, who helps’ Israeli bereaved families struggle with the Israeli bureaucracy, deal with the effects of post traumatic stress disorder, and even to host social events, providing a community for bereaved families to receive support from one another, among other things. Recently, OneFamily has compiled a cookbook, featuring the favorite recipes of Israelis who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. The initiative for this particular cookbook was orchestrated by Dina Kit, office manager at OneFamily.
HOW THE COOKBOOK PROJECT STARTED
According to Rachel Moore, spokesperson for OneFamily, Dina Kit’s
oldest son died from illness, and her other children were then exempt from the army. Her middle son insisted he wanted to volunteer for the army anyway, and while serving was killed by a suicide bomber near his tank. Dina realized that she simply stopped cooking some of her most frequent recipes since they reminded her so much of her sons, and all that she had lost. She knew from her experiences at OneFamily that she wasn’t the only mother that had a connection between certain recipes and their lost children, and she decided that they should create a cookbook together.
She found that in preparation of the cookbook, she found a way to cook the foods that she had completely stopped making – as did other mothers. It was through Dina’s insight as a bereaved mother herself, her personal relationship with the other bereaved mothers through her work at OneFamily and her understanding that so often healing comes through doing – and sharing – that she understood the need for this unique project.
ONE FAMILY EVENT FEATURING BEREAVED MOTHERS
Recently, OneFamily hosted an event for a group of Americans and South Africans, where the Israeli bereaved mothers got a chance to present their recipes and the stories behind them. Among the stories featured were that of Erez Turgeman, who was killed when Palestinian terrorists attacked his military outpost on February 19, 2002 (represented by no-bake biscuit cake); Staff Sergeant Dvir Emanuelof, who was killed by a mortar shell in 2009 (represented by challah bread); Idit Mizrahi, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists who ambushed her vehicle, and Shahar Mizrahi, who was killed while serving in the IDF (represented by potato latkes).
The Americans and South Africans who attended this event responded quite well to it. Moore explained,
“The program allows them to learn about OneFamily, learn about those that have been killed, but breaks down barriers and connects them in a powerful way with other mothers through the universal experience of preparing food for one’s family. They really have a chance to get to know these mothers and it is an uplifting experience that is touching and fun. They see how these women are celebrating the children they lost, not just grieving. Many of the women said they were determined to go home and continue to support these families through OneFamily as well as pass along the memory of these fallen children by sharing their stories at home…. and they all want the recipes when they are done!”
The publication of the cookbook is pending on increased donations to OneFamily.
The bereaved mothers, however, had varying reactions to the event. According to Moore,
Some of the bereaved mothers who come and participate in this workshop do so because it lightens their heart, they are passing along the memories of their children; they are making new friends and sharing their stories. It is a part of their healing process. But for others, it is very difficult to take off a Thursday morning and struggle with retelling their story and with the language barrier. It isn’t always easy or pleasurable for them to share. But they do it happily, and want to come; they are motivated by their tremendous gratitude to OneFamily for all that has been done to support them and their families. They voluntarily choose to participate as a way of giving back to OneFamily. We are grateful for their participation.
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About the Author: Rachel Avraham is a news editor and political analyst for Jerusalem Online News, the English language internet edition of Israel's Channel 2 News. She completed her masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University. The subject of her MA thesis was: "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media."
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