Every Thursday morning, volunteers are needed to pack food baskets for families affected by terror attacks at Ohr Meir and Bracha in Jerusalem.
Ohr Meir and Bracha, also known as the Terror Victims Support Center, is a small family-run organization that receives no government funding. Ohr Meir & Bracha was founded in 2002 by Liora Tedgi, a mother of 10 who was injured in a car bomb attack in Jerusalem. Liora set up the organization to respond to the unmet, unrecognized needs of victims of terror and their families.
Terror attacks destroy the lives not only of those who perish but also of those who survive. There are hundreds of victims of terror who “fall between the cracks” of the Israeli government’s aid initiatives. They do not receive help because their injuries are deemed insufficient to be recognized as medical disabilities, or because they are still in the process of being assessed for disability (which can take two or more years).
Terror attacks do more than just destroy buildings and cause physical injury; they cause individuals great psychological stress, and interfere with the long-term livelihood of families. Many workers lose their jobs because of extended absences from work as a result of their own and/or family members’ injuries, but often they do not qualify for unemployment subsidies. Others are unrecognized or “secondary victims”: individuals traumatized by having witnessed an attack, or are relatives of victims; people whose lives have been inexorably altered because of the death or disability of a family member as a result of terror. The pressures on the family unit following a terror attack can strain relationships to the breaking point, and lead to divorce, depression, or chronic unemployment.
The grief and pain of losing a loved one or enduring on-going extensive medical treatment can make it difficult for many families to cope with the daily care-taking needs of their children. Other families fall into acute financial crisis and do not have enough money to pay bills, buy food, or find psychological counseling. The Terror Victims Support Center seeks to aid these victims by offering vital services to help rebuild their lives, and by distributing food packages to families that are struggling to cope.
Every Thursday morning, volunteers from every walk of life gather to pack food packages in the Arzei Habira neighborhood of Jerusalem. Volunteers start at 9.15am and the packing activity typically lasts an hour, depending on the number of volunteers who turn up. This activity is appropriate for all ages and no Hebrew is necessary. They are known for taking great care of their volunteers, providing hot soup in the winter and lots of cold water in the summer!
Talk to Shatour about including an hour of volunteering at Ohr Meir and Bracha during your visit to Jerusalem.