The Second Intifada may have ended seven years ago, but countless Israelis injured during that harrowing period, and in the years since, continue to suffer. The Israeli government offers many of them compensation for their injuries, but its bureaucratic apparatus is sometimes slow to respond, the money is not always sufficient, and not all injuries qualify for compensation.
Which is why Ohr Meir U’Bracha was founded. Launched in 2002 by Liora Tedgi – a terror victim herself and the mother of 10 – Ohr Meir U’Bracha aims to help those falling through the cracks. “I was near the terrorist,” Tedgi told The Jewish Press, recalling the suicide bombing in Jerusalem’s Beit Yisrael neighborhood on March 2, 2002 that killed 11 and injured 50. “I was a few meters from him, and I have a lot of noise in my head and a lot of pressure. But I decided to help – to transform my suffering, to bring more energy, and help victims of terror.”
Today, among other projects, Ohr Meir U’Bracha distributes 500 care packages every week to the families of Israelis injured in terrorist attacks. Before Jewish holidays, that number can reach 600. “When both parents work and get a salary, it’s okay,” Tedgi said. “But – I’ll give you an example – the mother of Family X, who is a teacher, was in a bombing, and never came back home. Suddenly the father had to be a mother and a father with three little children. And then he had trouble at work. So he became depressed, and it’s like a [vicious] circle.”
It is families like these that Tedgi tries to help. “I give them food and also buy them washing machines, a refrigerator – anything that can help.” She also helps people find job training courses when necessary. Just the other week, her organization distributed 1,000 blankets to children affected by terrorism in “Operation Hot Winter.”
Currently, the organization provides 50 children daily with a hot lunch. One of Tedgi’s dreams is to start an after-school program for these children to teach them computer and other vocational skills, while also keeping them off the street. “She’d start this program tomorrow if we had enough money,” said Shoshana Shore, Tedgi’s administrative assistant.
Many Israelis blame their government for Arab terror – and Tedgi, of course, is aware of this opinion. But when asked if she ever considered political activism so that her organization would have less people to service, she answered simply, “I’ll tell you the truth. I don’t politica; I know how to help.”
Liora Tedgi will be in the United States from February 14-27. She can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org.