Hannuka is a time of miracles and for family.
The concept of family has new meaning as children struggle with lives corrupted by terror. Life without a parent or an injured parent, life without a sibling or an injured sibling – is a life forever transformed.
As our youngest victims work to navigate school and friends, they must also deal with instability in the home – whether emotional or financial. They deal with unimaginable loss and trauma, and have experienced more hardship than people more than 40 years older than them.
With the support of the Boston Community, OneFamily invited 300 injured and bereaved children for three memorable days of celebration, rehabilitation, joy, and friendship in the Negev. The children depend on and look towards the OneFamily family for support and for an environment where everyone understands their life experience.
“I live from camp to camp, I feel that I can only be myself here.”
“I can laugh with OneFamily – because only they know what it feels like to cry inside.”
“My friends here help me stay positive and remind me that we are all together in this.”
“My mother loves when I come home from camp – she says that my face glows with happiness.”
For three unbelievable days, laughter bounced throughout the camp, stories shared, tears shed, and new memories created.
One of the climaxes of camp included the annual visit by 42 bikers from the Israel Motorcyclists’ Club! The group took campers on a bike trip through the Negev desert. This was the fourth appearance of the Israel Motorcyclists’ Association at a Youth Division camp.
Their lives are difficult. Many feel isolated in their pain. In “real life” they feel guilty for enjoying life, they are embarrassed to talk to their friends about their bereavement, and they cringe at the looks of pity from people on the outside. At very young ages, they have placed masks on their feelings and emotions.
It is at the OneFamily Camps (three times a year) those children can remove their masks and be themselves. They can laugh and cry when they want to. They can be kids again.