In April 2016, 31 bereaved siblings and orphans from the young adult division, embarked on a four day empowering journey to Salonika in Greece. “Using photography as a tool for therapy each participant was able to take a new perspective on what they see, to zoom in or out on any details they choose -life’s details”, said Meirav Uziel, the trip coordinator.
This four-day empowering journey was specifically designed for young adults who have lost siblings or parents during the current wave of terror, or from wars or earlier terrorist attacks to create a brotherhood between the participants. The group consisted of “seniors” – those who experienced bereavement for some time, alongside “newcomers” who recently entered the world of bereavement. The combination helped newcomers see that life continues after the loss of a loved one, and it helps seniors recognize the progress they have made in their own bereavement process and to see if they are moving in the right direction.
Avia Turjeman, aged 26 years old is married and a father of one child. Avia’s brother Evyatar z’l was killed in combat during Operation Protective Edge. Upon returning from this therapeutic trip, Avia explained that it was only by attending this shared empowering journey that he could face talking about his fears, especially how to keep the memory of his brother alive.
The therapy takes place through the photography, the interactions between the participants, and the tours and attractions in a foreign city. During the trip, participants took part in daily sessions of therapeutic photography, and support circles. Avia said he felt an instant connection with the participants, especially during the support circles, because despite hardly knowing each other, “we just had to glance at the other and we immediately understand the depth of each other’s pain”.
As part of the therapeutic process, photos that were taken during the day were processed as a group in the evening. The sharing that takes place provides mutual understanding and helps build tools that will help the youths at home, with their families, and in remembering the loved ones they lost.
Ziv Helman, Director of the young adults division, said one of the group participants wrote to thank him, upon returning back to Israel. In his letter, he said: “Since I have returned home I have not stopped crying. It is so difficult to return to normal and back to reality. How can I even try to explain to other people what I went through on this journey? It feels impossible to describe the special relationship that the group experienced. The atmosphere was so unique; it was liberating and at the same time it provided a contained space where we understood each other, something that is deeply lacking in everyday life.
“I just want to say Thank You to OneFamily for helping me on this journey, a journey which I needed so deeply, yet before I went I did not realize how much. It provided me the air to breathe. I miss everyone so much and hope we will stay in touch!”
The trip was covered by Channel 10 Television and broadcast on Yom Hazikaron.
To see the program, please follow the link below.