Former Cleveland ShinShin Send Messages from Israel

Tags: Federation, Video, Israel

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Hey, my name is Michal Sela and last year I did a gap year (ShinShin) from the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) in the Jewish community of Cleveland staying with the Chaiten’s as my host family.

I want to share a little bit about what’s going on in Israel.

On October 7th, terror organizations in Gaza launched a brutal attack on Israel on multiple fronts. Thousands of rockets were fired into cities in the center, the South, and Jerusalem. Dozens of terrorists from Gaza infiltrated towns in the South of Israel and killed – more than that – slaughtered families in their own homes, and after killing whole families, they kept going. With no shame, they killed more than 1300 innocent civilians and kidnapped to Gaza more than 150 people (including babies, kids, teens, adults and elderly), more than 1200 are injured and more than 5000 rockets were fired.

Home for me is the place where I should feel safe, a place that I can feel confident and because of Hamas, the terrorist organization, I don't feel that at home. My friends in the army, people I grew up with, some of them lost their lives trying to defend their homes, the homeland. Hamas is a terrorist organization based in Gaza, I'm really not trying to say it's the fault of the citizens there, but many of them share an operation with this terrorist organization. I am sad, nervous and afraid. The people of Israel need the support of everyone who can strengthen and be there for them. Not giving a hand to Israel is giving a hand to terrorism. Next week, I am joining the army. I am going to serve as a social worker who accompanies injured soldiers and families who have lost their loved ones in the army. I know that after this war, it's not going to be easy, but I also don't want to leave these people alone.

This war touches and affects all of us. All of us in Israel are in mourning. But nevertheless, we will continue to defend and to fight for our country, we have no other country.


Hey Cleveland!! It’s Gil I was a shinshin last year

I’ll join the army in just two months, so I'm writing to you from my home. My family and I are doing well and are safe. It's been almost two crazy weeks for us, and it's still hard to believe the situation we're in. It's not easy to be here right now, and there's no way to describe the fear, worry, and immense pain we're going through these days.

Despite everything, I wanted to tell you about something good I'm experiencing these days. Since the beginning of the war, I can see how united our nation is. We all share this pain with each other. Despite the enormous difficulty these days, we can see the beauty and strength of our people. Thousands of Israelis have opened their homes to people who have lost theirs. Thousands have volunteered in any way they could - cooking food for the soldiers, donating clothing to those in need, and supporting in any way we can. We're all at home taking care of our soldiers, some of whom were even strangers in Cleveland, and doing sacred work. Perhaps this pain hurts a little less when we're all in it together. Israelis are helping each other lift their spirits, offer support, hug, spread love, and as much love as possible. You can feel the energy of giving and togetherness here.

So yes, this may be the toughest time this country has known. But within all of this, we're learning how important togetherness is. Just telling someone that you're here for them or asking if they need something means everything. We're learning to give each other strength, and to remind each other of the good during these times.

That is the greatest gift.

Personally, I've learned the power of togetherness from all of you. This energy brings me back to you every time. I've learned from you the strength of community, support, and love. So I ask you: keep supporting each other. Keep being together, sharing, hugging, and contributing in any way you can. It's the best way to deal with the pain, together. And we'll come out of this stronger.

Sending you lots of love.

Donate today to the Israel Emergency Campaign: https://donate.jewishcleveland.org/israel

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