Jewish children who were recently rescued from
Arab villages pour out their hearts at Kever Rachel,
during an outing sponsored by Yad L'Achim
Summer vacation is a time to "charge the batteries" before returning to school, and Yad L'Achim made sure that the neediest children in Israel – those who until very recently were being raised in Arab villages– also had such an opportunity.
Children from all across the country were picked up by chartered bus on the morning of August 22, together with their mothers, and brought to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. Waiting for them at the zoo, was a nutritious picnic breakfast and a staff of energetic guides who gave the children a special, fun-filled tour, allowing their mothers to take a break.
In the afternoon, they were all taken to an air-conditioned "jamboree" that Yad L'Achim had set up at the nearby Teddy Stadium. The children had the time of their lives on rides and recreational equipment. After being served lunch, they were ready to begin the spiritual part of their one-of-a-kind outing.
The children attended a special performance by an artist who explained Torah themes in an entertaining way, while the mothers were given a rare opportunity to meet with Rabbanit Tzviyah Eliahu, the widow of Hagaon Hamekubal Rav Mordechai Eliahu, zt"l. The Rabbanit described the vitally important role of the Jewish woman and urged them to strengthen themselves in the area of modesty as a segulah for success in their children's education.
The women crowded around her, asking for a brachah. In those emotionally intense moments she managed to give each one words of guidance and personal support. Later, she shared with Yad L'Achim staffers that she had been as moved by the encounter as these women, who were once married to Arab men and living in Arab villages.
"I never imagined the scope of Yad L'Achim's activities," the Rabbanit said. "I was very moved to see dozens of survivors and their children, Jewish souls who could have G-d- forbid been cut off from Am Yisrael and who merited Baruch Hashem to be saved by Yad L'Achim and to live as Jews."
At the conclusion of an emotionally charged day, everyone boarded the bus for a trip to the tomb of Rachel Imeinu. The women poured their hearts out for their children, as Mama Rachel cried for hers. One recited Tehillim, another read Nishmas kol Chai and others ad libbed, giving expression to the feelings they held in their pained hearts.
From there, the women and children boarded the bus that brought them home, feeling refreshed and invigorated. They showered the Yad L'Achim activists with blessings, for giving them an unforgettable day and, most importantly, the feeling of belonging to a warm, supportive family.
Two days later, Yad L'Achim organized another outing for childless women who had been rescued from Arab villages. On Wednesday, August 24, they were taken up north to pray at the graves of tzaddikim and merited to visit the tomb of the Rashbi in Meron and the grave of Yonasan ben Uziel at Amuka.
Afterwards, they enjoyed a jeep tour and heard words of inspiration from Harav Shmuel Eliahu, the Rav of Tzefat and son of Harav Eliahu, zt"l. He spoke to them about the great attributes of Jewish girls and the freedom that each one of them had to choose good and rehabilitate themselves.
At the end of the week, Yad L'Achim officials expressed satisfaction that women and children who are coping with difficult issues and who bear the scars of serious traumas, had merited an opportunity to charge their spiritual batteries and conclude their summer vacation on a high note.
Yad L'Achim chairman Hagaon Harav Shalom Dov Lifschitz said this week that "the effort to accompany the survivors as they return to their people and traditions continues all the time, with sensitivity and determination. The wonderful results that we are witness to, in the children who rising higher and higher in their Torah and yirah, constitutes proof that we must not give up on even a single Jew."