The OneFamily Circle of Support

OneFamily welcomes victims and their families into our larger family – providing each family with the external support needed to prevent further deterioration of the home during the months and years following the attack.

OneFamily case workers are the critical lynch-pin in all of OneFamily’s activities, working round the clock to provide individual emotional support, a listening ear, boundless sympathy and empathy with the victims and their circumstances. Each victim is a member of our family – and the staff subsequently treats each family member as a member of their own personal family.

Regular home visits and phone calls are just the beginning. OneFamily case workers spend hours in hospitals with relatives and wounded victims, and remain in close contact with the families once they return home.

OneFamily case workers attend every memorial service, and share the joy of family celebrations. At the families’ request, our case workers have been on hand for births, Bar or Bat Mitzvahs, and weddings.

OneFamily case workers draw on their vast experience and personal contacts to provide assistance beyond the families’ own expectations. We have enabled terror victims to find jobs and supplemental medical treatment – including life-saving organ transplants – both in Israel and abroad. We have solved housing problems and intervened with schools to ensure that children obtain the educational support they need to succeed.

The aftermath of a terrorist attack causes families to face financial hardships, and many fall below the poverty line with the loss of an income or expensive medical bills. For many, the government provided assistance is not sufficient in helping them cover their monthly expenses. OneFamily steps in to keep each family financially afloat, while encouraging them to achieve financial independence.

 Financial assistance may be used for: Rent payments, medical bills, utility bills, transportation costs, food vouchers, tuition assistance, clothing, and treatments for total wellbeing. 

OneFamily helps to find sponsors for family celebrations, like bar/bat mitzvahs and weddings. We award educational scholarships to students, and provide job training for victims who are forced to change professionals after an attack. Our  Adopt-A-Family program pairs an international family with a family of victims for financial assistance and a beautiful, supportive friendship.

OneFamily is more than just an organization, we are family. As a family, we provide ongoing support with a personal and caring touch. We are there together with families during the first terrible hours in the emergency room. We continue to be with them during the months that follow – at home and in the hospital. We are there through every holiday, special family event or memorial.

Our work begins at the moment of the attack – through rehabilitation and long after the headlines fade – as long as they need us. OneFamily provides financial assistance for therapy, special transportation, food, housing, job retraining, therapeutic aids (including hearing aids, orthopedic beds and exercise equipment) and so much more.

OneFamily forges a sense of family among all the victims through support groups, retreats, camps and other programs, fostering an environment of mutual emotional and psychological support.

OneFamily involves world Jewry in connecting and interacting with victims on individual, communal and organizational levels. The continued support of our larger family abroad acts as a reminder to victims that they are not alone in their experience.

Children have not walked away unscathed by terror. Whether they themselves, a parent, grandparent or sibling is murdered or injured in an attack – terror overturns the child’s world in an instant.

In one moment, with one act of terror, the people a child naturally turns to for support are also undergoing the deep trauma of terror and do not have the emotional wherewithal to maintain stability for the child.

Even when the child’s family remains intact, often the psychological trauma of the attack cannot be soothed by a family member who must deal with his or her own distress. The children are frequently left with no one to turn to and feel lost in their attempt to make sense of a new and painful reality.

Children who return to the school system after such an ordeal often do not manifest their distress and trauma until long after they are out of the public eye. Frequently their trouble goes unnoticed or is misdiagnosed as a learning disability or other disorder, instead of what it is: excruciatingly painful trauma and an unanswered cry for emotional support.

OneFamily’s Youth Division was created to answer the pressing need for immediate and consistent emotional support for children and teens wounded – physically, psychologically and emotionally by terrorism. It is essential that the child’s well-being and needs are monitored and addressed in order to ensure they receive proper care for their rehabilitation and recovery.

Ongoing activities of the Youth Division include therapeutic camps during the Passover, Hannuka, and summer vacations, weekend retreats, holiday programs, special events, individual counseling, the Big Brother/Sister program, support groups and alternative therapy.

Psychological Care and Continuity

Throughout the year, OneFamily’s nine youth coordinators and 60 volunteer counselors, each responsible for 10-15 children, provide informal support and guidance as well as physical and psychological support to our youngest victims as they deal with the brutal blows of terrorism.

Well-meaning family members, teachers or friends unfamiliar with trauma often respond to the emotional distress by addressing the symptoms instead of addressing the trauma. Children exhibit difficulty sleeping, eating, learning, concentrating and a disinterest in being social, and are easily agitated.

Generally, it is the OneFamily counselors, who are trained by professional therapists, who identify the danger signs and seek appropriate help in meeting the child’s needs.

When the child’s emerging needs reflect developing stress in the family, OneFamily’s case workers assess the needs of the family unit as a whole, providing the family more comprehensive intervention and aid.

Camps and Retreats

The Youth Division’s activities are anchored by OneFamily’s summer and holiday camps; bringing victims aged 8-18 together for four days during the Passover and Chanukah, and seven days during the summer vacation.

A great deal of thought and preparation goes into structuring each of the camps in order to strike the correct balance between three types of activities:

Fun and leisure activities: The aim of these activities is for the children to be happy, to find release and to prepare the groundwork for deeper therapeutic activities. Activities include hikes, jeep tours, amusement parks, swimming, videos, cultural activities and more.

Semi-therapeutic activities and non-verbal therapy workshops: The aim of these activities is to create social and therapeutic depth in indirect ways, in order to deepen relationships, process significant emotional issues sub-consciously, and empower the children to share their internal worlds through experiences. Examples of these activities include ODT activities, cooking, movement workshops, hydrotherapy, drama therapy and touch workshops.

Verbal and frontal therapy activities: These aim to develop direct dialogue on issues of loss and bereavement, memory, longing, pain, memorializing, and difficulties dealing with family and friends as a result of the child’s bereavement or trauma. These activities are led by specialist counselors and therapists who work at each camp.

Big Brother and Sister Program

OneFamily’s Big Brother and Sister Program is one effort within a continuum of care for the most emotionally fragile children in our Youth Division. Those who have lost a parent or older sibling are paired with university-aged students who support and help them address the special difficulties of growing up in their painful circumstances through direct and personal contact.

The Big Brother and Sister Program pairs those children and teens most in need of strong emotional guidance with Big Brothers and Sisters who become just that – caring, mature role models, always at their side, whether in person, by phone or through social networking. Their time together can include fun excursions, help with school work and participation in joint gatherings with similarly bereaved and injured children and their Big Brothers and Sisters.

This contact serves a dual purpose. It transmits the message that someone special cares and is there for them, offering friendship and emotional support. While creating opportunities for the Big Brother or Sister to monitor the child’s recovery and needs, be they material, educational, medical or psychological.

The Big Brothers and Sisters are also present for the child’s birthday, and on the memorial day for the family member whom the child has lost. They are always prepared to offer support and nurturing, whenever and however the children may need them.

OneFamily developed a Young Adults Division to answer the needs of bereaved and wounded terror victims aged 18-30. Victims of terror in this age range tend to fall between the cracks of the national support systems. They are no longer children, but their needs vary greatly from those of adults.

Most of the terror victims in this age range are serving their compulsory service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) or are students in university. Those who have graduated are just beginning their careers.

People in this age range are supposed to be stepping out into the world and beginning their own independent lives. At the same time, terror victims are either suddenly coping with the tremendous anguish of bereavement or must deal with a long and intensive rehabilitation process.

The emotional strains compound the economic realities that they face as they embark on career and life choices, academic or professional study, moving out on their own and building significant lifetime relationships.

Frequently following such trauma, young adults have difficulties making significant decisions, or are unable to devote the proper attention and concentration to academic, professional, social or family framework. Many young adults find themselves unable to function fully in their surroundings, creating situations that are likely to snowball into complete functional breakdown.

OneFamily’s Young Adults Division addresses the distinct need among this population for emotional support, network building and acquiring the tools necessary to build strong and stable lives.

Young Adult Division Counselors

The counselors in the Young Adults Division come from therapeutic fields and participate in on-going professional training throughout the year. Each counselor is regularly mentored by a senior clinical psychologist.

The counselors function on two levels: Personally providing guidance and counseling to help victims advance toward normative lives – scholastically, emotionally and in building healthy relationships; and facilitating social programs to build connections between and among the victims, and empowering victims to support and derive strength from each other.

Counselors provide personal counseling, emotional therapy, support groups, guidance in education, direction in choosing a profession, support in achieving professional goals, and emotional and social programming.

The counselors facilitate and participate in the therapeutic retreats in the spring and autumn, summer programs, social events, therapeutic activity groups and special events. OneFamily counselors provide personal counseling, and a direct, personal presence at family memorial services, family celebrations and home visits.

Retreats and Therapeutic Services

The efforts of the One Family’s Young Adults Division are based on the successful OneFamily models for addressing the social and emotional needs of bereaved and wounded adults.

OneFamily’s Young Adults Division helps victims of terror in this unique age range to build strong and beneficial personal and group connections with others like them, while creating a safe and protected space for them to regain their ability to function.

The Division organizes and provides programs and support activities, including twice-yearly short retreats, therapeutic workshops in which participants acquire coping tools and mechanisms, day-long social excursions, Memorial Day events, home visits and regular phone contact.

One of the primary ways in which OneFamily assists victims of terror is through emotional support provided through healing retreats, support groups and therapeutic workshops for bereaved parents, parents of injured children, bereaved or injured young adults, widows and widowers, orphans, bereaved siblings, and wounded or maimed victims of all ages.

Each healing retreat involves 80 and 200 people of similar experiences who then form smaller, more localized support groups where victims continue to provide victim-to-victim support, learn from each other’s experiences, and give and receive comfort. At OneFamily, we strive to overcome terror together.

Through intensive and long-term therapeutic workshops (one-time) and support groups (meet weekly or monthly), terror victims are empowered to deal with their psychological and physical injuries on a daily basis.

Each workshop or group is conducted by specialists in various fields of bereavement counseling, emotional and psychological well-being and interactive therapy. They take place in calm, healing environments and bring together 10-12 victims for facilitated victim-to-victim therapy.

The workshops and groups help the victims deal with self-esteem issues, adjust to new socio-economic pressures, learn various techniques to cope effectively with crisis and pressure, deal with society’s attitude toward terror victims and provide general enrichment.

Special emphasis is placed on the relationships within the family and between the couple as well as understanding personal health and the effects of laughter, enjoyment and leisure on self-esteem and psychological and physical recovery.

Support groups include: Bereaved Fathers Choir, Bereaved Mothers Cooking Group, Mothers of Injured Children, Couple Therapy and Support, Wounded Couple Therapy, Young Adults Soccer Team, Young Adults PhotoTherapy, Widow Bereavement Groups and Orphans Family Support Group.