A Lesson “My Kids” Have Taught Me

These past few weeks have been the hardest weeks I’ve experienced in Israel. Constantly getting alerts to my phone about the next attack, having meetings about security and the precautions — it’s not easy. People I know talking about going home or not leaving their dorms out of fear, but I am yet to think like that. As I am extremely aware and cautious of my surroundings, I refuse to let myself really get scared. The thought of going home hasn’t even crossed my mind — giving the enemy what they want is not an option, letting fear and paranoia into my head is not an option. I came to Israel wanting to make a difference and to stand with my country — no person or group of people attacking civilians — is going to get in the way of that.

I chose to spend my gap year this year at Midreshet Torat Chessed,  a seminary in Netanya, based at Bet Elazraki Children’s Home that combines Torah study together with chessed work with underprivileged Israeli children on a daily basis. Working with my kids at Bet Elazraki (8-12 year old Tromiot Girls) has been amazing. They warmed up quickly and love the idea of an American being there for them. Whether I am doing homework with them, playing a game, or even just laying in their beds with them playing a game on my phone, I know I am affecting them.

One girl turned to me and said “why are you here? There’s so many fun things to do in Israel?” I looked at her and said I’m here for you — to hangout and talk with you. She smiled, sat back down on my lap and squeezed my hand. Yes there are hard days where I question if I’m making a difference…But does that make me give up? Of course not. I continue to go back everyday and continue on this amazing journey.

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So too, when our enemies start attacking people, and times get hard for the Jewish people- am I going to get scared and change my daily routine? No, Chas Vishalom. Every day I will continue to grow and learn from my girls here at Bet Elazraki, who have already made an impact on my life- and hopefully I will continue to impact theirs as well. Just as I will stay here standing tall and proud for my country, my home. עם ישראל חי.

About the Author
Kailah Kaner is from Englewood, New Jersey. She is currently spending her gap year at Midreshet Torat Chessed at Bet Elazraki Children's Home in Israel.
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