Coping with Corona in Netanya

Our Girls Are Enduring the Pain

In our Home in Netanya, many of our young girls have suffered enough for a lifetime. When this Covid-19 pandemic began to spread around the world – yet another fear and hardship entered their lives.

School, afternoon activities, field trips, just hanging out and reading together in the lounge area, were all staples for our dear girls. If there wasn’t “seder” – order, in their lives before, at our Home in Netanya, they learned to live with routine. The girls share responsibilities, enjoy meals together, hear guest speakers, celebrate birthday parties and look forward to holidays and fun filled summer vacations.

Sadly, with the blink of an eye, all of their “norm” suddenly vanished. Schools closed down. Public transportation was greatly curtailed. Doctor and dental appointments were cancelled. A large chunk of our girls’ lives were put on hold. But, education had to go on. Thanks to computer technology, ZOOM video conferencing became the new “norm” temporarily replacing their classrooms.

Many of the girls who suffered severe trauma before arriving at our Home, are under the care of a therapist or psychologist. Our Home’s director, Bracha Runes told us, “We have not neglected this most important tool for their recovery. Those services are still provided through ZOOM.” She added, “Our popular pet therapy sessions are still conducted – right in our backyard. Our playground activity area is the perfect place for our girls to play with their beloved pets.”

Being in isolation now for 100 + days is a great challenge for young people. Every effort is made to provide exercise sessions, including aerobics, jump-roping, hula hooping, and various ball games. Physical Education (P.E.) teachers regularly arrive at the Home. They engage our girls in a wide variety of age appropriate sports. Social distancing and mask wearing are another part of the “norm” in Netanya.

When a girl is not feeling well, we conference with local physicians who see the girls on-line and diagnose and, if necessary prescribe medications that are delivered to the Home. Our girls did not go out for walks in the neighborhood, nor to shop for clothes or food during this entire period. Only of late, when they needed to refresh their wardrobe, the teen girls, along with their house mother/counselor Simi, were taken to the malls which began to open, to shop for summer wear. For the younger girls, we had a children’s apparel store bring a wide assortment of clothing to our Home so the girls could make their own choices. They were so happy and excited!

In the past few weeks, each school had a different policy for reopening. Hence, the girls’ schedules varied. Unfortunately, three of our girls attended a class where a girl who does not live in our Home was found to have contracted Covid-19. Those girls had to be quarantined, in a separate room, away from their house sisters for the required 14 day period.

Dealing with fear and worry has been a constant issue for the past few months. Our housemothers and counselors have shined in how they handled our girls to make them feel as safe and secure as any child living with their natural parents.

We have taken every precaution prescribed by the Ministry of Health of Israel to keep our girls safe and healthy. Besides masks and sanitizing solutions, and diligent hand washing routines, we no longer use dishes. Bracha Runes also mentioned that another precaution taken at the Home is the exclusive use of disposable paper dishes and plastic cutlery. Bracha remarked that this measure is an added expense but necessary for everyone’s safety.

Listening to, and watching our girls these past few months, has shown us how they have matured to meet these unprecedented challenges that befell them. I once heard a quote which is very apropos for these difficult and trying times, “When you have to endure the worst situations, you build the courage and confidence to cope.”

We thank our generous donors for their unwavering support in the past few months. You have not let our girls down!

We are in this together – and we will get through it –
Stay Healthy – Be Safe!

When they have nowhere to turn, who will be there for them?