The events of October 7th, 2023, plunged our nation, our country, and our families into devastating grief and shock. The loss of life and the shattering of our sense of security on our borders compelled many of us to find a way to make a positive impact during these dark and dire times.
Finding Purpose Amidst Despair
In the wake of this tragedy, I struggled with feelings of confusion, despair, and anger. Families were forced to evacuate their homes in the south, uncertain if they would ever return. The uncertainty about what awaited them upon their potential return only deepened the lingering distress.
During these trying times, communities banded together for the broken families, soldiers, and their loved ones, setting aside differences and providing support where they could. It became clear to the world that Jews are facing the worst instance of anti-semitism since the Holocaust.
Amidst the heartache and heartbreak, a poignant symbol emerged: the ‘Curving Road’, a painting by Ziva Jelin. Shortly after the brutal attack, it was described as slightly damaged but enduring. I would use this painting as a metaphor for our collective spirit – hurt yet resilient in the face of overwhelming loss and destruction.
When I came across this painting, its resilience despite the acts of terror near our border inspired me. I was moved and driven to use my creative skills and experience to contribute to others.
Our nation’s youth, especially in the southern regions, needed more than words of comfort – they needed a constructive outlet, a way to rebuild their creativity and reclaim their future. Although many resources have been invested into rehabilitating affected communities, I truly believe that my role in these troubled times is to share what I’ve been grateful enough to learn.
Empowering Through Education
“How can I help this group shift their focus from emotional trauma and grief towards a more empowering and forward-facing approach?” I asked myself. As someone deeply immersed in the tech industry, I knew the power of web development – not just as a skill but as a tool for self-expression and growth.
Then and there, I decided to organise a non-profit virtual web development course for Israeli youth, taught by experienced volunteers in the tech industry, brought together with the ‘IGANI Academy’, whose sole purpose is to provide as much knowledge as possible in a short amount of time.
The course was designed to provide students with the skills needed in web development, and a constructive focus to help them get through these difficult times. It’s not just about teaching them to code; it’s about giving them a way to focus their energy and creativity productively, to create something meaningful out of the chaos that had upended their routined lives.
A Collective Effort for a Brighter Future
This initiative isn’t about one person or one organization. It’s a collective effort, bringing together international volunteers from the IT industry and having them share their knowledge and experiences with as many students as possible. We intend to not just teach web development; we’re fostering a community of hands-on learning and providing solace, helping these young minds to grow and thrive even in the toughest of times.
A Beacon of Hope in Dark Times
In response to the devastation, we can offer hope and empowerment. By investing in our youth, we not only equip them with valuable skills but also help instill a sense of purpose and optimism. Let’s unite to support our youth in shaping a brighter future – for us, for our children, and for our nation.
The road ahead is open. It reminds me of Ziva Jelin’s painting every time I think about what we’re about to do. We’re building something for our youth, but it’s not ready yet. We need hands and hearts ready to lift up this community. If this mission speaks to you, your willingness to help is already a beacon of hope.
Jelin, Ziva. “Curving Road.” 2010. Currently displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Originally from Kibbutz Be’eri. The painting, known for absorbing shrapnel during a Hamas terror attack, symbolizes ‘the red alert sirens, fires, massacres, blood, and war’
For more information: the Israel Museum hangs a painting by Kibbutz Be’eri artist Ziva Jelin.