As in past years, we came to ADI Jerusalem for Simchat Torah, ready to fill the center with the holiday atmosphere and celebrate with residents and volunteers from all over the country.
As we entered the doors of ADI Jerusalem, we had no idea what was awaiting us. We thought we were coming for the holiday and going home the next night. How wrong we were!
Early in the morning, the first siren alert heralded sounds of war. We ran to the protected area with residents, quickly taking care of those who could not care for themselves. Throughout the morning, volunteers and people who had come to add to the holiday atmosphere were recruited, called up to report for immediate army service. Cars coming and going, phones ringing – all in the midst of the holiday and Shabbat!
The rest of the holiday was spent running into and exiting the protected areas, but we decided we were going to keep morale high. We certainly know how to do that!
ADI residents understood that something was happening and obvious fear filled their eyes, but we were not going to let anyone destroy the spirit of the holiday. We used every ounce of willpower to sing and dance, hold regular prayers and sit down to the usual festive meals.
Saturday night, we understood the extent of what was happening. Together, we agreed that ADI Jerusalem residents are our family, and we were not going to leave them alone. For the next few days, we stayed on. We initiated activities for residents, despite warning sirens and despite the stress, personal hurt, hardship and loss felt by each person. We sang songs of hope and songs of peace for the country, our soldiers and the citizens of the south. We called and spoke to soldiers and sent encouraging letters and pictures.
We kept spirits high, doing everything that had to be done with all our hearts during such a complex time. We tried as much as possible to provide residents with a feeling of normalcy.
Now, after a challenging week filled with hurt, pain, giving, loss, fear, love, uncertainty and hope, we would like to express our gratitude. First, to HaShem, Who gave us the strength and desire to add a bit more goodness in the world in a situation in which it was needed. Thank you to the staff and administration of ADI Jerusalem who provided us with the place, the tools and the opportunity to rise above everything and do something beneficial during this hard time. Thank you to everyone who came to bring us the supplies we needed, and thank you to our wonderful residents in whose merit this hard time was able to see some good, not just sadness and hardship.
And finally, thank you to everyone who came and stayed on!
We pray that we will soon see better times, times of peace and serenity for all Am Yisrael.
With love, ADI Jerusalem volunteers,
Noam, Ido, Shira, Achiya, Seffi, Shira, BatSheva, Shani, Timor, Tzvia, Ella, Moriya, Yuval, Shoham, Aderet, Tuvia and all of the National Service volunteers