OneFamily and the Orphans Project

OneFamily’s Orphans Project helps fill some of the gaping holes in the lives of children who have lost both parents to terrorism.

If you follow the news here in Israel, you will be all too aware of some of the terror attacks that have left children orphaned. One of the most horrific in recent years was the attack on the Fogel family, during which both parents and three of their children were murdered in their beds by knife-wielding teenagers. Two children survived — but only because the unrepentant murderers, as they stated after their capture, hadn’t realised there were any other children sleeping in the house. When 12-year-old Tamar came home later that night after a youth group activity, she found her toddler brother next to their father’s bloody body, crying, “Daddy, Daddy! Wake up, Daddy!”

The Fogels were murdered nearly 5 years ago, but this very month four more children — the oldest only 9 years old — were orphaned when their parents, Naama and Eitam Henkin, were shot dead in front of them while they were all driving home.

Terror survivor Kay Wilson says, “The effects of terrorism are life-long, impossible to forget and there is never ‘closure.’ Never.”

If this is true of an adult survivor, then how much more so when terrorism leaves children orphaned at such a young age?!

That’s why I decided to support OneFamily’s Orphans Project to mark my upcoming Big Birthday.

One of the after-effects of losing a parent is a lack of a feeling of togetherness within the family unit.

Although, as Kay says, there is never closure, the Orphans Project helps fill some of the gaping holes in the lives of children who have lost both parents to terrorism (and sometimes, like the Fogel children, siblings as well). In addition to providing these youngsters with financial and emotional support, OneFamily does some of the things their parents would have done if they were still alive, such as help pay for tuition, weddings and other life-cycle events, and also attend each and every event. In short: OneFamily is their family.

I want to share with you some words from “Ze’ev” (pseudonym), the oldest of several siblings who were orphaned by a terror attack over a decade ago. In a message he sent to OneFamily following an orphans retreat, Ze’ev wrote:

“I rediscovered myself. The astonishing nature and the intensity of the endless care that you and the staff displayed, provided me with the mental space I had not experienced for many years — to look deep within myself and rejuvenate…

“In addition, we were able to bond and reconnect with our siblings during this trip. One of the after-effects of losing a parent is a lack of a feeling of togetherness within the family unit. We never had a real opportunity to come together. We didn’t have a place where one could host. Each gathering required logistical planning, as well as immense emotional and technical evaluations…

The astonishing nature and the intensity of the endless care that you and the staff displayed, provided me with the mental space I had not experienced for many years.

“[During the retreat] we dealt with fears, peace and quiet, various efforts and challenges — this was something unusually powerful….[It also] allowed us to relieve the tension and anxiety within us.

“Thank you for all that you have done for us. You are amazing.”

Help youngsters orphaned by terrorism

Thanks to all those who’ve already contributed to my Big Birthday Project to support the Orphans Project of OneFamily. To date it’s raised around $2,300  so we’re making good progress, but I still need your help!

You can donate at my OneFamily page — donations made on that page are tax-deductible in the United States. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation from Canada, the UK, or Israel, you can donate here by clicking the appropriate button. But please specify it’s for my birthday project! Either do that on the donation page, or send me a message via Facebook and I’ll make sure OneFamily know.

P.S. Did you donate already? Please send me a message via Facebook so I can make sure it’s included in the project total.

Help spread the word!

I’d love it if you’d blog about this project, tweet it, add it to your Facebook page, forward this blog to anyone else you think might be interested… in short, help spread the word!

And… thank you.

Right now, OneFamily needs our support more than ever.

About the Author
Caroline Ben-Ari has lived on three different continents, but still talks with a British accent. She now lives in the beautiful Central Galilee region of Israel, works as a technical communicator, and firmly believes that 60 is the new 40.
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