Today was our last full day in Israel and it was a very full day, indeed.
We took the train to Ashkelon this morning to be picked up by Karyn London, of Atzum. Karyn had invited us to go to S'derot with her as she made some client visits. We met with three clients - all families of survivors of terror - and saw a remarkable one-man miracle maker who as a volunteer, and ONLY WITH VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE
- provides food for 600 people a day;
- feeds an additional 150 in their soup kitchen;
- runs a parent room for families to borrow books and toys (also providing families with diapers and food);
- and runs a clothing center where people who need new or extremely-gently-used clothing can pay a few shekels and have something clean and in good condition to wear.
From there, we went to an indoor playground. Opened after the war and funded totally by JNF and the municipality of S'derot, this "Blue Box" is a reinforced bomb shelter which provides a wide variety of indoor recreational activities for children of all ages. A few of the activities include DDR stations, a half-size soccer field, basketball hoops and a climbing wall; foam climbing and tumbling mats for the younger set and a pre-school-sized house for the little ones to cook, clean, have tea parties, and put their "babies" to bed. It's only been opened since March, but it's a safe place for both current survivors of terror and will be available in the future, as needs arise.
That's the short version - so many impressions/feelings/thoughts rolling around. They'll need to settle before I can write more. So that's now two pieces I "owe" you - on the Palmach Museum and on S'derot.
Back at our hotel in Tel Aviv - getting ready to go out for an early dinner. Then it's packing and early to bed for a nap before the desk calls us at 2:00 am for our 2:30 pickup for Ben Gurion Airport. Our flight's at 6:10 am (Israel time); with a 6 hour layover in Madrid, we hope to land at Dulles at about 7:30 tomorrow night (EDT).
And here, I thought today was a long day!
L'hitraot / See you soon!