#LivingIt: JDC Update: Protective Edge Day 22

As the tragic news from yesterday sinks in and all of Israel prays that no more of our boys will be lost, JFNA support is ensuring that JDC can continue to provide those most isolated  and those hardest hit with a clear message that we will get through this together. Below is a selection of JFNA supported JDC activities that are taking place right now.

  • In an immediate response to a request from the local association for the elderly, three warm homes were established in Hof Ashkelon, a location that has been under constant rocket attack for over three weeks straight. Warm homes, a model that was first developed by JDC in the Former Soviet Union, empower an elderly host to bring together 10-15 elderly neighbors and a social worker into their home for socializing, food and companionship. These three new warm homes are meeting twice a week and as with most warm homes, the benefits of participation generally encourage the group to continue meeting long after financial support is no longer needed. What makes these Warm Homes so critical now, is that the host's home is chosen in part because of the presence of a safe room, a "luxury" that many elderly residents in Hof Ashkelon do not have.
  • In partnership with the local municipal Welfare Office and the local association for the elderly, fifty elderly residents from Hof Ashkelon will also be participating in a three night, four day respite at the Dead Sea this week.
  • As a testament to the strength of spirit and the commitment to giving that can be found all over Israel, Elderly for the Elderly, an NGO in Hod Hasharon (where sirens are also a daily occurrence) have developed kits specifically designed for handicrafts that are popular among elderly individuals. JDC has purchased 480 kits containing materials for crocheting, knitting, etc. that will be distributed to forty people in 12 communities where local elderly residents have been unable to leave their homes.
  • An all too common tragedy during conflicts is that the caregivers themselves suffer from trauma. At a nursing home facility in Ashdod, where the head nurse's son was just killed during his service in the IDF, JDC provided two 3 hour sessions to help the staff cope with their own trauma and that of the facility's residents. Additionally, two workshops were also provided in Eshkol and Be'er Tuvia to staff working in nursing home facilities.
  • Imagine how scary it must be to be a frail hearing impaired elderly person during this conflict. When you can't even hear the sirens that send your neighbors running, the sense of helplessness and isolation is multiplied and the trauma becomes that much heavier to bear. JFNA support enabled JDC to provide a workshop in sign language to help elderly residents of Ashkelon cope with this terrible situation.
  • Below is a picture that was drawn by a disabled participant in JDC's Bitachon.net program in which adults with various disabilities are connected with each other and support staff online to provide community, mutual support and a social outlet during these times of extreme isolation. The picture was drawn as an exercise to help the participant cope with trauma by using imagination and fantasy as a way of healthily coping with stress and crisis.
  • Please see attached video showcasing  JDC emergency response in southern Israel, supported through the generosity of JFNA and other donors. Video link: http://youtu.be/yVmrS7HGKmA
  • We all know the smile that balloons bring to the faces of young children. In Dimona, where smiles have been harder to see these days among the poor and at risk children being served by JDC's Better Together program, JFNA support help bring a balloon animal activity to local children where the children even learned how to make their own balloon shapes and animals. See picture below.

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