29 October 23

Here at Ketura we are experiencing the evolving situation and adapting to the reality as it changes. We are still very much horrified by the events of October 7th and working hard to help in any way we can to help those most directly affected.

Many of the initial families we hosted have either moved to be with their communities – as spaces were organized to allow for this in hotels in the Dead Sea, Eilat, and the hills of Jerusalem – or moved to be with family members. We are now hosting people who have less community support and are starting to get large numbers of requests from the people who have been evacuated from along the northern border including students and families.

Many of our own members, hired workers, and adult children who were called up to emergency service were able to come home for a short leave, restock certain supplies (think clean underwear and snacks), and give their loved ones hugs before returning to the units to give the next soldier a turn.

We are still running programs for the children who are hosted on Ketura – refining activities to meet the needs of different age groups. Recent workshops included Acrobalance, art with clay, drumming circles, and dance. We are sending small groups of people to volunteer to unload trucks or sort parcels in Eilat and at our regional council where efforts are now more organized into central “free stores” for those in need and deliveries for those who need that. On the kibbutz we learned to allow the guests to help out in small ways as well – cleaning tables after meals. We have learned to make space on the kibbutz available for the kibbutzim hosted in Eilat – even without our participation: just to let their educational systems have open fields, a kibbutz pool, familiar safe spaces for a few hours every so often.

Thanks to your donations we have been able to buy supplies for activities, craft materials, food, essential furnishings for housing people, TV screens and internet access in the previously empty houses, locks for safe rooms and shelters, extra chairs and mats to make those spaces usable, and more. Donations helped us further subsidize costs of families staying at our guest house/hotel. We have helped support professional care by psychologists and social workers for those directly affected by the war. We were able to supply materials for one of our members to prepare and give out a homeopathic remedy for those from the evacuated areas who needed and wanted.

And we can support those offering more creative workshops to adults and children, so that they can continue to earn while volunteering to bring workshops to those who most need the break.