Update from Dror Israel educator in Sderot: Pnina-
Pnina is a part of Dror Israel's Sderot Educator Community and has remained in the city under fire. Even during the initial attack on the city, from their home's protected room, Pnina and her colleagues called their neighbors and local program participants to check in on them, offer emotional support, and organize aid where needed. She and other Dror Israel educators have remained in the city to support their local community.
First, some numbers.
With the help of member from the Dror Israel Movement and other partners, we talked to 414 neighbors since the beginning of the war
92 participants from our neighborhood activist groups checked in on their neighbors from the beginning of the war
We directed dozens of requests for assistance or treatment at the Resilience Center to the municipality volunteer hotline
Some other things of note:
Many neighborhood activists and local residents decided to leave the city. Some on their own and some through municipal efforts. Even so, there is a significant number of residents that have decided to say in Sderot. Many of them are elderly, but there are some young families as well.
Our focus and efforts are on these residents that have stayed in the city. We make sure that they are receiving answers for their physical and mental needs.
Today, after a few days of many phone calls, we were asked by the Resilience Center to visit a family that has stayed in the city and lives near the police station. It was a very important visit. After a few days alone in the shelter room, they were relieved to meet some friendly faces.
We brought them art supplies, games and childrens’ books. We spent time with the kids and spoke with the parents. During the visit there was rocket fire and we all went into the shelter room together. The visit helped them to feel that they aren’t alone- are people who are here to help take care of their needs.
Update from Dror Israel educator working with Evacuees: Gal-
Monday marked my arrival in the Dead Sea area, where our Dror Israel team swiftly organized programs in hotels housing evacuees. Initially stationed in Hotel David, welcoming those displaced from Kibbutz Be’eri, our team of five Dror Israel educators has now expanded to seven, as more evacuees continue to arrive. We have split our programming into two and it appears that tomorrow we may need to open two additional locations to accommodate the growing number of people, including those from Kibbutz Be’eri, Kibbutz Kisufim, Moshav Yevul, and families from Sderot.
Our primary focus is to connect with and support the children and teens affected by this crisis. We sit with them, engage in conversation, and play together. Every interaction begins with an attempt to understand their needs. In the face of such complexity and difficulty, we cannot prescribe activities arbitrarily; they must be tailored to the specific needs of those we meet. The situation is especially challenging for the community from Kibbutz Be’eri, which has suffered immense loss—many lives lost or taken captive, and much still unknown. Periodically, we receive messages with names of those identified as missing or dead, adding to the emotional weight of the environment.
Navigating this sensitive context, we approach the teens with humility and empathy. We seek out those sitting alone or with friends, aiming to understand their emotional states and find ways to help them stay occupied. Our interactions have led to meaningful connections, such as with Shai, an 11th-grade girl who shared her family's evacuation journey and struggles to reunite with friends from the kibbutz. She approached us immediately because she recognized our youth movement shirts. She told us that she participated in youth movement activity on her kibbutz and asked if I know her counselor, Ron. I told her that I know him, that he has been called up for reserve duty but he sends his regards. And then we just started to talk. Despite the gravity of the situation, we've found solace in connecting with the amazing youth here.
The days are undeniably long, filled with both challenges and moments of connection. Yesterday was particularly difficult, but we are gradually defining our role and identifying how best to support those in need. Another Dror Educator joined us today, a former youth counselor from Kibbutz Kisufim, coming to reconnect with the kids she knows from there.