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September 26, 2003 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-26

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three days of special programming to
help staff and students cope with the
loss, and the victim's class went
through a whole month of special pro-
grams. Close friends were offered an
extended period of counseling.


Tragedy struck more recently in a
school district in the north. The
Sept. 9 suicide bombing outside the
Tzrifin military base in central Israel
killed, among others, two men from
northern Israel. One was the father
of two young students in Pardess
Hanna, near Hadera; another was
the father of two students in Haifa.
The area school district sent coun-
selors to the victims' families and to
the schools to speak with students.
"Students expressed lots of fears that
maybe the same thing will happen to
their own parents," says Ayelet
Yaron, supervisor of guidance coun-
selors in the Haifa District Ministry
of Education.
A number of students also
expressed anxiety about how to han-
dle the pain of friends who had just
lost their fathers.
"The kids cried a lot," Yaron says.
Though Yaron encourages the stu-
dents to discuss their feelings, she
says it's crucial to move quickly to
solutions for dealing with fear, grief
and anxiety. That's why the Haifa
school district provides drama, art
and music therapy for students.
Such programs are available for
both Jewish and Arab schools, Yaron
says. "I don't think there is a very
big difference between Jewish and
Arab response," she says. "When
there is a terrorist attack in Haifa,
Arabs are also affected. They are also
Many children have developed
symptoms of post-traumatic stress
disorder as a result of terrorism. "We
see there are a lot of consequences,"
Yaron says.
The attacks also "affect students'
academic achievement. We try to
reduce the impact so it will be short
term, not long term. We stress
returning as quickly as possible to
everyday life, to studying, to learn-
ing, because we know that once
someone is active, he doesn't dwell
on his fears and his grief."
The return to the routines of nor-
mal life is what keeps many Israelis
going during these difficult times.
"It's the most comforting thing to
see students going on with their lives
even though things are falling apart

around us," says Ruti Lehavi, -princi-
pal of Keshet High School in
Jerusalem, a small school with a
mixed religious-secular population of
220 students.
None of Keshet's students was
directly injured by the Sept. 9 attack
at Jerusalem's Cafe Hillel, but the
bombing shocked the school, which
is nearby. Many Keshet students
heard the blast, and two were at the
site of the explosion minutes after-
ward, volunteering with Magen
David Adorn emergency services.
Teachers and pupils immediately
were in contact with each other,
making sure everyone was alright.
The next day, teachers made time for
the students to talk about their feel-

The return to the
routines of normal
life is what keeps
many Israelis going
during these difficult

One ninth grader, Tamar, suggest-
ed putting flowers and lighting can-
dles at the scene of the attack. "Her
friends said it's not the right thing to
do," Lehavi says. "They said the
right thing to do is go on with the
In southern Israel, far from the
scene of many terrorist attacks, car-
rying on with the routine of life
seems a little easier.
"We are kind of far from all the
problems," says Hayim Eizner, prin-
cipal of the ORT school in Yeroham,
a suburb of Beersheba. The school
began the year with a course offering
students security tips. Other than
that, Eizner says, "We have a guard
all day long for the students, but
that's it."
Two years ago, the Ironi Tet school
in Tel Aviv held ceremonies after ter-
rorist attacks, and children partici-
pated in the services. "But we are
finished with that. We can't do cere-
monies every day. We have to try
and have normal lives," Ben-David
"We can't live in a perpetual state
of grief. It's not normal." O

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