Healing the Invisible Scars and Creating a Resilient Israel

How do you bandage wounds you cannot see?

How does Israeli society cope with the trauma of life under daily threat?

NATAL is here to help.

Following the traumatic events of summer 2014, volunteers manning the Helpline for NATAL, the Israeli Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War, received a phone call from an eight-year boy and his ten-year old sister.

“Our mom won’t stop shaking,” the siblings told the volunteer on the line, “I don’t know what to do.” Their mother, on a quick trip out to the grocery store, had narrowly missed another rocket attack.

Scared, panicked and in distress, she did not know what to do. The children, who had seen NATAL’s toll-free Helpline phone number on television, decided to call for help.

“We’ve received thousands of calls since the beginning of the war,” says Orly Gal, NATAL’s Executive Director referencing summer 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. “And you have to understand every conversation, it’s not like it’s for a minute. It’s a long conversation, to assess symptoms, to give breathing exercises and help them calm down and if need be, to refer to NATAL’s clinical psychological care.”

NATAL’s Helpline provides crisis intervention and long-term emotional support through highly trained volunteers.”

Since 1948, the state of Israel has endured a series of wars, countless terror attacks and constant bombardment of rockets over southern communities. For more than six decades, Israelis have been faced with the challenges of trying to live a normal life within an abnormal reality.

NATAL opened its doors, in 1998, by Judith Yovel Recanati and the late Dr. Yossi Hadar, to address an unmet need in the country of providing trauma treatment to victims of Terror and War.   Trauma affects the lives of thousands of people, everyday. It cannot necessarily be seen physically, yet it can severely derail the course of a person’s life.

Today, NATAL is seen as the “go to” trauma organization in Israel for treatment and prevention of post-traumatic stress, training of professionals, resiliency building, public advocacy and research.

Through NATAL’s toll-free Helpline, Clinical Services, Social Therapeutic Club and Community Outreach Unit, NATAL treats thousands of trauma victims and trains thousands more every year

To date NATAL’s professional services have helped more than 200,000 people regain their lives.

For more information on NATAL’s work in Israel and international partnerships through American Friends of NATAL, visit the American Friends of NATAL website.

Krembo Wings: One Person’s Experiences Turns Into a Youth Movement

The story behind Krembo Wings began when Adi Altschuler, a 12 year old, was volunteering. She was working with Kfir Koby, who at the time was a preschooler, just 4 years of age. Kfir Koby had cerebral palsy, which made it difficult to socialize with other kids her age.

Over time, Adi had the opportunity to really get to know Kfir. What started as a volunteer opportunity turned into something much more – a real friendship. While working with Kfir, one thing that really struck was how few opportunities that Kfir, or really most kids and teens with Cerebral Palsy, didn’t get many opportunities to socialize and communicate with other kids.

In Israel, that’s a really big deal. For the 250,000 Israeli kids that are part of TZOFIM (Israel Scouts) or another teen youth movements, building deep friendships with your peers is just part of the culture and lifestyle. That’s why, for Adi, she was so impacted by the fact kids with Cerebral Palsy would never experience that.

4 years later and already onto her next volunteer opportunity, Adi was lucky enough to reconnect with Claudia Kobi, who also happened to be Kfir’s mother.

One thing led to another, and idea behind what would become Krembo Wings had germinated. Adi and Claudia would later become co-founders of a new type of youth movement in Israel, one that was built on a foundation of inclusion.

Krembo Wings would become a place where all youth in Israel. It didn’t matter if you loved sports and hiking or grew up with Cerebral Palsy. You could have grown up in Haifa, Jerusalem, or a Druze, Christian, Bedouin, or Muslim village. At Krembo Wings, everyone was invited to show up, socialize, and make friends, regardless of your background, city, of psychical condition.

Today, Krembo Wings has grown into a successful organization with over 60 branches spread all over Israel and thousands of youth members. For Israeli youth ages 7 – 22 who have a disability and those who don’t, Krembo Wings offers a place where you can meetup for a day for socializing, fun, and good conversation.

It’s not just the kids who get to experience a Krembo Wings meetup. Together with the kids are the counselors, who are also teens and some of which also have a disability. Together with the participants, the counselors help create the contagious energy that lies at the heart of this movement. The participants, volunteers, and even the parents feel part of the community.

In 2018, Krembo Wings received an invitation to the United Nations to give a talk about their movement and was recognized with the status of Special Advisor to the United Nations (ECOSOC). Krembo Wings was recognized for its innovation and impact in Israel and the world and has been hosted by delegations from around the world.

For the kids who participate in Krembo Wings, the results speak for themselves. A lot of them perform better at school, are more social, and feel greater self-esteem.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Krembo Wings and experience a meet-up first had, don’t miss it! It’s all inclusive, and you’re invited.

A message from the Israel Legacy Central founder, Carol Karsch

Growing up in the American philanthropic world and heading the Jewish Community Foundation in Tucson for 25 years gave me the priceless opportunity to work with hundreds of donors and their families building their charitable Legacy plans.

I believed in the concept of Legacy from the time my husband and I created a charitable bequest years earlier when our first child was born . [See Blog]

Donors made very individual choices: an institution with which they had long affiliated, such as synagogue or Center, or a new program which the donor felt would fill a gap in community life. Many designated a general field, such as childhood education or Ethiopian absorption in Israel, and asked their local Federation or Foundation to ensure funding.  When Israel had been a vital part of their lives, an Israeli organization was often included in the Legacy plan.

Legacy, we grew to understand, represented “One More Child to Worry About and Protect His Future.”

Over the years I learned how deep this connection ran. Once someone committed to Legacy, he or she would never let it go. His “One More Child” became part of his being. This was for me a new and powerful realization.

Always hoping to make Aliya, my move in 2012 to Modiin, a dynamic city between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, opened the way to work towards long term financial support for Israeli organizations.

The Israel Legacy Central Website offers you the opportunity to connect directly with Israeli nonprofit organizations and read their stories and personal accounts. You’ll also find ideas and practical information about making a Legacy Giving.  When you include Israel in your Legacy, you’ll experience a sense of completeness and satisfaction from the impact you can make.

Meet Gilad Shimon Vital, Israeli singer and musician

Gilad Shimon Vital’s is an Israeli singer and musician by profession. His story is one of trauma, resilience, and personal exploration.

Gilad is one of the many individuals from different walks of life who have had the opportunity to work with NATAL, which is the largest leading trauma treatment and resiliency training organization in Israel.

Read the full story on the American Friends of NATAL blog.

Get Started with Legacy at Your Israel Nonprofit

If you’re a nonprofit organization in based in Israel and interested in learning how your organization can start its own Legacy program, you’ve come to the right place!

Legacy Israel Central works directly with nonprofit organizations to help them in the different aspects of the launching their legacy program. For most nonprofits located in Israel, Legacy is a completely new concept. Because of that, Israel Legacy Central created a 12 month onboarding and education program that helps organizations learn about different aspects of Legacy.

Another aspect of Israel Legacy Central and our work with Israel nonprofits is building awareness. One of the complexities for many Israel nonprofit is building awareness about their work. As Judi Srebro, who works as an Israel Legacy Central advisor in Israel, explains:

“One of the things that organizations in Israel struggle with the most is becoming know. While people are very interested in supporting Israel, a lot of people are still unaware of many of the nonprofits here and just how big of an impact they have here in Israel”.

To help build greater awareness about Israel philanthropies outside of Israel, Israel Legacy Central works with organization to help tell their story and enables individuals to learn about,  and connect with, Israel nonprofits through the Israel Legacy Central website.

If you’re involved with an Israel nonprofit organization or are connected with an American or Canadian Friends of Israel organization, get in touch with us to learn more about us or visit our nonprofit registration page to get started.