During Operation Protective Edge Oraita and Makom BaLev Teens Help Their Communities and Each Other

Published July 14, 2014

Oraita Ofakim organizes war room for the south. The center which was opened last week coordinates projects for volunteers in Ofakim and elsewhere in the south. The center which was opened last week was started by Vadim Shaulof, director of Oraita Okakim.

Oraita Dimona: Games Central. The moadon is making board games available to children of all ages. During Shabbat Oraita teens hosted a number of families and their children. On Sunday Oraita madrichim introduced activities for children in shelters. The staff gathered neighborhood children to play a variety of group games. They also spent time drawing and prepared surprises for IDF soldiers.

Oraita Yeruham: Everyone is welcome. The first sirens in Yeruham were heard on Wednesday July 9. Yeruham residents thought that because they were off the beaten track, rockets wouldn’t find them. Many of the town’s shelters had become store rooms. One notable exception is the Oraita moadon in the Neveh Emek neighborhood. It was clean and ready to host people who wanted to get away from the rocket fire. In normal times the local Oraita moadon is a meeting place for Yeruham teens. They play pool and ping pong, talk, learn, and generally enjoy themselves. Now the moadon is welcoming the population at large. A number of teens guard the shelter around the clock.

Makom BaLev: Nationwide activities for residents of the south. Makom BaLev all over the country are opening their hearts and reaching out to those in need. One of the teens said they have received emergency call-up notices to strengthen the unity of Am Yisrael. Teens from the north and center of the country are reaching out to their peers in the south – by phone and social media. The idea is to support them and let them know they aren’t alone.

Prayers for IDF Soldiers. Makom BaLev Ma’ale Adumim began distributing names of soldiers so that teens can daven for them and for the success of Operation Zuk Eitan.

Makom BaLev Sderot, Kiryat Malachi and Kiryat Gat: Shabbat Shalom. On Friday and Motzaei Shabbat there was a round of phone calls in each locale to stay in touch and offer support when needed. On Sunday (July 13) there were individual conversations and meetings as well as reaching out to people in their homes.

Makom BaLev Kiryat Gat is also planning a “chocolate campaign.” They are planning to distribute chocolate with notes of encouragement to individuals and families who are in shelters. The local teens plan to visit all the shelters to cheer up the residents and offer support.

Makom BaLev Bet Shemesh welcomes IDF soldiers. On Friday July 11 a number of IDF reservists arrived at one of the local school where they will be stationed for the foreseeable future. Teens from Makom BaLev as well as other youth groups and local volunteers brought the soldiers food to make their Shabbat a bit sweeter. The soldiers really appreciated all the efforts made on their behalf.

On a personal level, since Operation Zuk Eitan began, Makom BaLev Bet Shemesh has been having individual conversation and home visits. Many of the teens were somewhat panicked by the sirens and rockets. Madrichim have been working around the clock to be a calming influence. Some of the girls in particular had philosophical questions. Their madrichot are helping them deal with their questions and return the feeling of safety. The Teen-to-Teen campaign to reach out to teens in the south is also active in Bet Shemesh.