Day Two is a day for love
We introduced nine newcomers to Ahava this morning, including 4 Israelis. Yoav, our good friend and executive director, proudly led the group around the grounds of this residence for at-risk children. The group met one of the foster families that cares for thirteen children between the ages of 6 and 17, and was warmly welcomed by a group of Israeli lone soldiers who have come to live at Ahava for life-skill counselling. They somberly walked through the rooms of the emergency shelter, where fifteen children are given intensive therapy to address their traumas. They met one girl who only weeks ago witnessed her mother’s murder at the hands of her father. These are the harsh realities, they learned, that serve as the motivation for the loving and supportive framework that Ahava attempts to provide. Finally, they saw the many projects of OJC’s past mission participants and financial supporters.
Meanwhile, the rest of our group was getting started on the projects that would occupy us today and tomorrow. In addition to painting the playroom and stairwells of the emergency shelter, we created “Rob’s Corner,” an outdoor meeting and relaxation area to be dedicated in memory of Rob Katz, z”l. Using large tires covered in a metal netting, we poured and plastered cement around the tires to create a seating area. We fashioned tile mosaics that will be set into the cement structures tomorrow.
In the evening, the children’s band and choir entertained us in song and dance, and board members and staff expressed their appreciation for our ten years of service. In truth, we owe them so much more for the opportunity to give a bit of ourselves to their herculean–make that Godly–effort. It is so humbling to be in the presence of these teachers, counselors and civil servants who are saving lives and repairing damaged psyches.
Tomorrow, we finish our tasks, and we are off to Jerusalem. May we leave a little more peace in our wake, and may we arrive in peace to our destination.
Rabbi Craig Scheff