Remembering Maya Dee, a”h

One and a half months after the horrific terror attack which killed Maya and Rena Dee and their mother Lucy, Midreshet Amit Kama in Yerucham held a special commemorative event in memory of past National Service volunteer, Maya, in the presence of Leo Dee and his daughter Keren.

Throughout the year, Maya, a”h, headed the school’s Tikkun Olam program, a unique program operating under the auspices of the ADI network of rehabilitation and education facilities that aims to change societal pre-conceptions of people with disabilities through education and emphasizes acceptance and integration of society’s “other” into everyday life. As a National Service volunteer in the Midrasha, Maya took it upon herself to head the girls’ leadership group, initiated and participated in activities, trips and seminars, and encouraged girls to be pro-active in relation to people with disabilities. The topic of people with disabilities was close to Maya’s heart, and she was active in the field even before her National Service stint.

In close cooperation with ADI’s Tikkun Olam program, Midreshet Amit Kama of Yerucham which actively works to help change attitudes and views toward people with disabilities among youth in hundreds of schools throughout the country, decided to preserve the memory and deeds of Maya Dee, a”h, through the establishment of an outdoor classroom, a project that Maya began but one that remained incomplete following her murder. The outdoor classroom includes a deck, benches, flower pots and a gazebo. The classroom was built by girls from the Midrasha together with Tikkun Olam leaders and students from Yerucham’s special education class.

Bat El Katorza, director of ADI’s Tikkun Olam program: “With a smile, equanimity and endless dedication, Maya led the Midrasha’s educational Tikkun Olam program throughout the year, altering preconceptions of young people towards people with disabilities. Her actions and contribution to children with disabilities were intertwined in the threads of Maya’s life, from adolescences and through her years serving as a National Service volunteer at the Midrasha.

“Maya encouraged girls in the Midrasha’s Tikkun Olam program to play active, meaningful roles within the program and urged them to take on additional volunteer activities for people with disabilities. By so doing, Maya embodied the words of Major-Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog, chairman of ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran – the strength of society’s chain will forever be measured by its weakest link. Today, we cherish and commemorate Maya’s path and are privileged to follow in her footsteps and many acts of kindness.”

Bat El concluded with the words of HaRav Yaakov Edelstein, zt”l: “When a person does acts of kindness, they merit not only the acts themselves, but all of the kindness that stems from their deeds.”

 

 

Translation of an article by Liza Lutzashvilli, originally appearing in Hebrew in “News08,” May 30, 2023.

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