Guardians of the Moshav, Yad Hashmona’s Emergency SquadThe men of Yad Hashmona ignite a spirit of resilience and take proactive steps to keep the Moshav safe! Those who weren’t called up for reserve duty quickly organized an emergency squad. Together with other villages in the Judean Hill country, they approached the county for support in providing ‘long weapons’ and essential training. The Israeli Border Police played a crucial role by providing a seasoned trainer who demonstrated house takeover techniques. Now, our emergency squad is well-prepared to make a difference in the critical moments before the military or police arrive at an emergency scene. In response to recent events in the South, our dedicated men patrol the village at night, by foot and car, guard the gates, and maintain a visible presence where people gather. This not only safeguards our community but also significantly enhances the overall sense of security for residents and evacuees.
Women at the Moshav Enhance Security Skills with Firearms Training
Even the women of the moshav actively participated in the security training. A resident from the neighboring moshav, Neve Ilan, opened a training facility specifically for women who have little to no experience with firearms, including those who had served in the IDF but needed a refresher. A group of 30 of us gathered to practice shooting at a pistol range.
The atmosphere was a mix of laughter, enjoyment, and seriousness all at the same time. Interestingly, while we were there, the Iron Dome system intercepted rockets in the air overhead. All of the women performed very well. They felt secure and confident handling a firearm in case it becomes necessary in the future.
Maximizing Home for Bible Translator Facilities
One of the biggest blessings during this war has been the availability of the Home for Bible Translators, whose facilities are at Yad Hashmona. With the home being largely vacant, and only a few Finnish guests, we obtained full permission to utilize the space for various community activities. We are currently using the facilities to hold bi-weekly women’s prayer meetings in the “Rock Chapel”, men’s security meetings, Shabbat School classes, and First Aid training led by MADA (Israel’s First Aid responders).
In addition, Dr. Yaron Ovadia, a Middle East studies expert, gave a lecture on “Hamas and the Gaza Problem.” The turnout was impressive, providing us with an academic understanding of the historical context, the rise of Hamas, and the distinct challenges Israel is facing in Gaza compared to Judea and Samaria. This experience offered valuable insights into our current situation in the Land.
Beeri Kibbutz Members Show Resilience at Farmers Market
Yad Hashmona hosted a Farmer’s Market at the Castel Winery, showcasing products from the communities in the south. Various vendors offered vegetables, and members from the Kibbutz in Beeri which was attacked on October 7th, set up a cheese stand for the first time since the attack. It was a wonderful time being able to speak with the team from Beeri. Through the smiles and lively conversations, we could sense the heaviness and sadness that they carry with them. They are broken and devastated.
When they were asked if they plan to return to the kibbutz, they said: “It is not the time to ask this question because the answer for many of us right now is “NO”, while others just cannot answer. We need time to let the dust settle so we can process and think about rebuilding the kibbutz.” It was an honor to be able to bless them as a community and hug them as they left. The fact that we were the only place they came with their products since the attack, was very special for us.
Nurturing Resilience: Yad Hashmona’s Youth Engage in Activities to Learn and Grow
We’ve organized various activities for the children and youth during these challenging times. Thanks to generous donations from a few organizations, we had bouncy houses for both evacuees’ and our kids, creating an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and enjoy outdoor games. The youth, particularly the boys, are deeply emotionally affected by the situation and the conflict in Gaza. They often engage in imaginative play, running around with improvised weapons and vests, expressing a desire to protect the community from the enemy they can’t see.
To channel their enthusiasm positively, Arie has taken on the responsibility of providing them with lessons in IDF training. The youth are thrilled to learn about navigation, map reading, physical training, history, and more. Their commitment is evident, and it’s heartening to see how much they want to protect Yad Hashmona. This growth in their love for the country and understanding of the work of God in this Land is truly encouraging.
Children use Creativity and Imagination to Process the Current Situation
In attempting to shield children from the harsh realities of the current situation, we often find it challenging to completely conceal the truth. Children absorb information from parental conversations, media, and the constant hum of daily news. Here are a few poignant glimpses into their perspectives:
Three 5-year-olds constructed a rocket-like Iron Dome from pipes and boxes, asserting it would protect Yad Hashmona from missiles, and some of the 10-13-year-old boys engaged in imaginative play, donning vests and wielding plastic guns to emulate soldiers.
Another instance involves a 6-year-old girl asking her father, Shmuel if her mother could have been kidnapped to Gaza when she couldn’t find her. In a related scenario, when her mother advised her to dress warmly due to the cold weather, she inquired about the attire of the kidnapped children and whether they might be cold.
The impact on these young minds is undeniably formative. We strive to guide them through their fears and imagination with thoughtful responses. Encouraging positive actions, such as assisting evacuees, participating in communal efforts, engaging in creative activities like drawing, and fostering discussions in Bible classes, becomes crucial in this endeavor.
Any funds donated to Yad Hashmona will be allocated exclusively to war relief efforts: hosting the evacuees at Yad Hashmona, adding the needed bomb shelters, securing the path around the Moshav and continuing with our community service.