January 20, 2009 / 24 Tevet, 5769
A delegation of senior officials of the United Jewish Communities of North America and ‘Next Generation’ leaders of the Jewish Federations arrived in Israel for a solidarity mission to the war-ravaged towns of southern Israel.
On Monday, January 19, 2009, the delegation visited the IBIM student village. They ate lunch at the village and were impressed by the joint effort of local residents and students in treating trauma victims.
The delegation spent the afternoon visiting two families in Sderot whose homes were damaged by Kassam rockets. The Ben Dayan family's house was completely destroyed when it sustained a direct hit by a Grad missile, and the Israel family's house was damaged by a secondary explosion after a missile landed on a neighbor’s roof. Yossi Ben Dayan described the miracle that happened to the family, how the children made it into the sheltered room at the last moment. He also showed the delegation the massive damage caused to the house.
Rachel and Yehuda Israel described the horror they experienced when the missile landed, and how they dealt with their special-needs child at the time of the hit.
The delegation spent time at the shelters renovated by the Amigour Company, before moving on to Yechini and meeting with students participating in the Ayalim program. The students described their volunteer activities, which included traveling to shelters to keep the children occupied in order to mitigate anxiety and fear of missile attacks. They also discussed other activities they initiated when the Home Front Command ordered that classes be cancelled.
Jon Gurkoff of New Jersey and David Solomon of Philadelphia, the son
of former Jewish Agency Board of Governors Chairwoman Carole Solomon
join Ofer Baram and Ohad Drori as they visit families and give them the much
needed aid from the S.O.S. Fund.