Your Impact: Aiding Displaced Israeli Families

Shortly following October 7th, Federation Israel Crisis Relief Fund supported organizations providing emergency response throughout Israel. Part of our community’s support provided funds to Dror Israel to aid evacuation efforts for displaced families and those seeking respite from violence. Our funding helped expand and support essential therapeutic and educational programs for children and families in Rehovot and Ashkelon. Funding also covered daycare costs for children of hospital workers and other essential staff so they can treat the injured while schools across Israel remain closed.

In Their Own Words

  • “The partnership of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has been so impactful on Dror Israel’s work over the years, and has been especially crucial during these dark times. Your help has made an immeasurable impact on the lives of those affected by the October 7 attack and ensuing war.” –Joanna, Dror Israel Engagement Director
  • “When I talk to people [about the programming] I describe it as a healing process for me, really. Every day I breathe a bit more air. What’s happening here with all the volunteers and Dror Israel educators is really, to me, a bright spot[…]They’re people who have come to embrace you and give you security.” –Karen Bokovza, Ashkelon resident evacuated to Crown Plaza Hotel, Tel Aviv. Member of parents’, mother of three who take part in programming
  • When everything turned upside down for us, you made sure to hang our children’s paintings, plant a garden with them, hug, smile, walk with them, and take responsibility. We want to express our gratitude for your generosity and hope. Alongside the loss, the endless pain and the great confusion we see that there is a chance for our country, for humanity, for love” –Alice Shahar, Kibbutz Be’eri

Their Stories

With Kibbutz Erez in Mizpe Ramon: Daniel Crook, a Dror Israel preschool educator from Tel Aviv, moved to Mitzpe Ramon for two weeks to help re-establish and run the preschool of Kibbutz Erez.

“I am a preschool teacher for twenty-five of the evacuated children of Kibbutz Erez, together with a team of volunteers from the Kibbutz itself. We have returned smiles to the faces of the children. We have returned a sense of routine and familiarity to the children and their parents. Each day is filled with play, laughs, silly conversation, dance and artwork. I have seen the power of love in our work to re-instill security in the lives of children and adults who are facing unimaginable horrors.”

With Kibbutz Be’eri at the Dead Sea: Bat Beeri, from Dror Israel’s Akko Educators Community, has relocated to the Dead Sea area in order to operate the preschool of Kibbutz Be’eri. In an interview, she shared about this important and challenging initiative.

“The kids say to me: ‘Do you know that my house burned down?’ or ‘You know my dolls stayed in Be’eri?’ But mainly I see that they bring out their feelings and memories through play. For example, we have a play house in the yard of the preschool, and they constantly enter it as if it were a safe room and literally recreate the situations they experienced there.

They say, for example: ‘Let’s hide and be quiet’, and also explain: ‘There are bad people out there’ or ‘thieves’ or ‘terrorists’. The instruction we received from the psychologist is to talk to them about these issues and try to take the game in a positive direction so they have control and power, to make sure that this time they come out of the situation as the winners. To get them out of the very difficult frozen situation they were in when they were in the safe rooms.

Despite everything they’ve been through, they manage to smile and be truly happy, from their hearts, most of the time. When you see them playing, laughing and having fun, it really gives me hope, and a feeling of victory.” Read more of their story.

Our impact by the Numbers

Since jumping into action on October 8th, Dror Israel has operated programs in 60+ hotels and other centers for evacuees throughout the country, directly serving 41,000+ participants, including:

  • 18 preschools for ages 0-6, modeled on the children’s classes from home before the war, with Dror Israel’s preschools teachers staying for months with the evacuees
  • Drop-in child care for ages 3-12, based on youth movement-style programming in 50+ locations
  • After school emotional first-aid and educational activities for 10-18 year olds in 30 evacuee centers
  • Leadership training courses for hundreds of teens and adults, strengthening agency and community amidst chaos
  • 7 makeshift elementary and high schools established, students absorbed into local Dror Israel schools, and additional educational support frameworks.
  • 41,000 direct participants in Dror Israel’s emergency response programming. The vast majority of these participants were served daily for several months and continue to be served several times per week. Programming with evacuated communities began at the start of their displacement and will continue long after they’ve returned home.

In addition to Dror Israel, support from Greater Washington is providing:

  • State-of-the-art training to increase Israel’s capacity for trauma and mental health care.
  • Mental health services for survivors of sexual violence.
  • IDF soldiers with assistance to overcome combat-related trauma.
  • Much needed financial assistance to displaced families and those seeking respite from violence.
  • And much more.