Your Impact: Providing Trauma Recovery to 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.

Merchav Marpeh (Healing Space), an emergency mental health facility supported by Federation’s Israel Crisis Relief Allocations, was established soon after October 7th  to care for the thousands of traumatized young people who attended the Nova Festival as well as their families. They are providing a holistic, integrative, and community-based approach using yoga, music, art, and nature in conjunction with trained mental health professionals.

“Even though their bodies were whole, we saw how broken they were and that their eyes were hollow,” a member of Merchav Marpeh’s staff remembers following the attacks. “They didn’t look alive. They couldn’t look at us. They would shake, they couldn’t eat, they couldn’t drink. The evil that these people met is incomprehensible.”

Ido Vaknin, 24, a former Israeli commando who lost his brother in the attack, has been receiving assistance through Merchav Marpeh. He produces music festivals like Nova, and says he personally knew 30 people who died on October 7th. “I remember every person I saw there, and I can’t stop thinking about the ones I couldn’t help,” he said.

Now, those in need like Ido have a place to go to work through the trauma they faced that day. Volunteer therapists offer everything from sound healing to yoga, and massage therapy to talk therapy.

Because of the generosity of the Greater Washington Jewish community, hundreds of youth have access to these services every day, sometimes twice a day. They choose which therapies they want to take part in to aid their recovery and move forward at their own pace.

To learn more about Merchav Marpeh, watch this short video, which shows how the Greater Washington Jewish community is enveloping those in need with love and light and empowering them to take control of their own healing journey.

In addition to Merchav Marpeh, 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.