Your Impact: Creating a Wave of Hope for Israelis

The sharp rise in the need for trauma services quickly overwhelmed the Israeli mental health system after October 7th. Support from Greater Washington is directly expanding services to help those in need, making a positive difference in the lives of so many Israelis.

Since 2013, HaGal Sheli has empowered at-risk youth and trauma survivors throughout Israel by utilizing surfing as a transformative and therapeutic tool, fostering personal growth, resilience, and success in overcoming life’s challenges.

HaGal Sheli expanded its outreach in 2022, introducing a surf therapy program in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense – Rehabilitation Department. This initiative, led by a clinical psychologist, leverages the therapeutic power of the sea to provide innovative somatic and holistic therapy to veterans with PTSD, enhancing their mental and emotional well-being and supporting their reintegration into civilian society while addressing their unique challenges.

In the aftermath of the heinous Hamas attacks on October 7th, the urgent need for support in helping Israeli teenagers and young adults confront the profound trauma was undeniable. HaGal Sheli initiated an emergency plan to assist Israeli youth in navigating their complex emotions and experiences using surfing. Their goal is to swiftly reach as many affected teens as possible to offer aid, aiming to mitigate the development of PTSD.

Your support is providing critical funding to assist HaGal Sheli’s program ‘Tools from the Waves.’ This innovative program integrates physical activity (surfing) with structured emotional processing to reduce the risk of post-traumatic stress and empower individuals on their journey to healing. Under the guidance of Dr. Tamar Dagan, a clinical psychologist and trauma specialist, the program is a response to the complex traumas inflicted by the attacks and is dedicated to providing immediate assistance to those affected. By facing the unique forces of the sea and overcoming the challenge of surfing, the participants are instilled with the self-confidence and sense of achievement necessary to propel them through equivalent life challenges.

Your support is providing five groups, totaling 75 young adults, with the tools they need to begin recovering. Learn more about Hagal Sheli in this short video, which shows how the Greater Washington Jewish community is assisting those in need.

In addition to HaGal Sheli, 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.