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Emergency Efforts on the Ground- A New Preschool for Kibbutz Erez

Daniel Crook, from Dror Israel's Educators' Community in Tel Aviv, tells about his choice to temporarily move to the isolated southern town of Mitzpe Ramon in order to establish a preschool for evacuees from Kibbutz Erez:

"On October 14th, I headed to Mitzpe Ramon, a desert town in Israel's Negev, to aid the evacuated residents of Kibbutz Erez, a community on the northern border of Gaza. The news had reached me that they were endeavoring to establish a kindergarten for their children, and as a kindergarten teacher, I felt uniquely equipped to help in these trying circumstances.

Daniel reads a story to the children of Kibbutz Erez.

Upon reaching Mitzpe Ramon, I entered a cluttered hall, embarking on the daunting task of transforming it into a kindergarten—a space for joy, play, and growth. The paradox of what a kindergarten should be juxtaposed against the harsh reality of war became glaringly apparent. Yet, as Kibbutz members trickled in, their immediate question was, "What can I do?" Their solidarity transformed the room into a makeshift haven, brimming with donated games and toys.

For the following weeks, I took on the role of a kindergarten teacher for twenty-five evacuated children from Kibbutz Erez, alongside a team of dedicated volunteers from the Kibbutz. Together, we brought smiles back to the faces of these children, reintroducing a sense of routine and familiarity. Each day is marked by play, laughter, lighthearted conversations, dance, and artwork. Our work has become a testament to the transformative power of love, reinstilling security in the lives of those facing unimaginable horrors.

Daniel creates a safe space for play and gives children tools for facing adversity.

The resilience and unity within the Kibbutz community have left me astounded. Many shared stories of miraculous survival and recounted harrowing experiences of fear and loss. Each member has lost friends, family, and colleagues to the brutality of the conflict. Despite these profound losses, I've witnessed firsthand the unwavering resilience of the human spirit. In the face of evil, fear, and profound grief, they continue to choose life, creation, and the fight against despair. Their commitment to a world of good is nothing short of inspiring, echoing the strength that emerges from unity and a shared will to endure.

This makeshift kindergarten is not just a space for children; it symbolizes the collective choice of a community to rise above darkness, to nurture hope amidst chaos."

The preschool for Kibbutz Erez is one of 18 preschools established by Dror Israel for evacuees from devastated communities, serving hundreds of children. As these communities remain displaced, your support can help us continue this crucial work. Join us in sustaining these oases of resilience and life amid the trials of war.

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