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Community Stories- Our Work since October 7th


Having lived and worked in Sderot since 2005, we are deeply connected to the community and attuned to the complexities of life on Gaza’s border. From our youth movement branch to empowering local activists, we have been an integral part of Sderot.

Although we were all accustomed to the ongoing rocket onslaught, Oct. 7th left everyone traumatized. Following the attack, our committed educators remained to operate emergency hotlines and care for vulnerable residents. Once we were all evacuated to Eilat and Dead Sea hotels, we immediately helped create makeshift elementary schools, 11 preschools, youth movement programming for 4-12th graders, and programming for seniors. We also created Evacuee Center Leadership Committees in 7 hotels to swiftly address community issues.

We are not volunteers who come into the lives of the evacuees for a short time and leave. We are evacuees, living in the hotels alongside them. But we are also experienced educators, skilled in identifying community needs and developing innovative solutions to address problems. Now that we have returned home to Sderot, we are focused on rebuilding the city.

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Kibbutz Be’eri, one of the communities hit hardest on Oct. 7th, suffered massive loss of life and destruction of property. At the time, our Be’eri Youth Movement branch was robust and thriving.

From the first moment of terrorist activity, the Youth Movement Branch Director played a pivotal role connecting with every teen to reach safety, listening to their stories, and consulting with mental health professionals.  Once teens were ready to reengage, the Branch Director taught them to sew — a therapeutic activity. They also participated in a Leadership Course for displaced teens to be responsible for helping younger kids.

As Kibbutz Be’eri reopens its schools, they immediately requested our help. In partnership with the early childhood education team, we relocated to the Dead Sea hotel and reopened 7 preschool classes.  These preschools have created stability. Elementary school children study at a school set up by Dror Israel in the Dead Sea area. Recently, our educators began facilitating unique educational programming for 7-12th graders, many who lost friends and struggle to return to routine.


Kibbutz Be’eri will remain in the evacuee center for the next few months, as they explore a medium-term move to Kibbutz Hatzerim, and rebuild their home. We are committed to staying with them through these moves, facilitating youth movement programming, preschool classes, teen educational programs, and whatever future programs are necessary.

Haifa is home to one of our largest educators communities with 100 educators who run youth movement programs, 2 vocational schools, co-existence initiatives, after-school programs for at-risk youth, community leadership programs, and preschools. In the aftermath of Oct. 7th, they pivoted to supporting evacuees seeking refuge in the city.


Leveraging their longstanding local partnerships, our educators were among the first to respond to the needs of displaced communities arriving from the northern border areas of Shlomi, Kiryat Shmona, Kibbutz Dan, and Sderot. We swiftly initiated emotional first-aid programs for youth at local hotels, set up a makeshift elementary school, and integrated displaced high schoolers into the Dror Israel high school. Local students from Dror Israel's high schools helped, volunteering at day care programs for evacuated children.


In hotels, we facilitate committees to foster ongoing communication. We set up a playground in collaboration with residents, and formed leadership committees of evacuees in the hotel, addressing issues such as education, emergencies, and needs of the elderly. We also created social support groups for seniors in partnership with the JDC, Shlomi’s Municipality, the Haifa Municipal Culture department, and social workers.


Expanding on Dror Israel’s existing youth programming in Haifa, an improvised youth movement branch has been established. Dozens of evacuees have become teen leaders, trained in special emergency leadership, and are volunteering with younger children.


We recognize that escalation of the war along the northern border, may further threaten Haifa with rocket fire, and potentially force more residents to flee from their homes. Plans and emergency teams are being developed in hotels, youth leaders are being trained, and emotional first-aid activity kits for educators are being distributed.

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