Written by a OneFamily volunteer who joined the OneFamily Young Adults Division on an outing to the North.
The day started with a tour of a winery and a wine tasting at Har Galil. In true Israeli style, the winery staff could not find the key to the fence to let us in, so everyone had an extra adventure climbing the fence in order to start the tour.
Next, all of us headed to Tzfat for another factory tour and tasting, this time at a cheese factory. The day was rounded out with a hike and picnic outside of Tzfat, complete with all the dairy delicacies appropriate for the Shavuot holiday, which would start the next day.
I was fortunate enough to accompany the group throughout this adventure and see the dynamics of the members, all of whom have lost close family members – a brother, sister, mother, or father – to terror.
About ten of us started at the winery but more joined as the day progressed. By the time we came to the picnic, many people were joining the group, exchanging warm hugs, and partaking in the festivities.
These arrivals show most clearly what it means to be part of this group. There is a silent support network that comes from having a large group of people who have all experienced the same trauma. If someone is reminded of a lost loved one or has a negative experience, they are free to share with one person or the whole group. No one will judge them, or laugh, or think that what they are doing is not normal.
Because everyone there has felt the same way or done the same thing. Here, everyone can be themselves without holding back. There is no need to fear judgement because everyone knows what it is like to be in the same place. That’s what makes it so comfortable.
This group is a safe space away from the world. They are comfortable crying. But more importantly, they are comfortable smiling and laughing, because life does go on.
On this trip were people from all walks of life, at all stages. Some group members were studying, some were working, but all had the chance to step away from whatever they were doing for a moment and just spend the day with friends. At first glance, this was a typical group of friends out for a day trip. People broke off into groups to chat about their lives. And one person had his phone taken away when he was paying more attention to it than to his friends.
During the picnic, one young woman pulled out a mini coffee-maker and gas lighter and used them to make chocolate fondue for the group. Added to the cheese and campfire-style fondue was the knowledge that everyone there was there for each other. Everyone had a support network and was ready help those around them.
Just as friends come together for a day trip, the Young Adult Division was able to spend some time getting away and celebrating the holiday in style. These trips help them maintain a connection to each other and to OneFamily. And you can see how much that connection means from the moment they say “hello.”
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