Before Palestinian rockets began raining down on Sderot, shattering the uneasy calm of the region, Sderot Media Center met with two groups of high school students who will be taking part in the community theater therapy program initiated by Sderot Media Center. The goal of the theater project is to first provide treatment therapy to Sderot youth through the art of theater. The second goal is to allow these youth to share their life under rocket terror with Israelis and the international community. The girls will produce, write, and perform the play under the direction of Livnat Shaubi, a Sderot resident and two clinical therapists.
Two high schools were chosen to take part in the project; Amit Mekif Dati and the Amit Ulpana. In each school, a group of 15 girls were chosen to formulate the theaterical play which will derive much of its material from discussions and activities that will take place in the therapy sessions and workshops. Psychologist Debby Gross, and clinical social worker, Nechama Munk will facilitate and direct each session. The treatment therapy sessions will be documented by video cameras, in order to be used later on as ‘hasbara’ or advocacy material on the rocket situation in Sderot.
In the first meeting with the high school girls, Sderot Media Center’s Noam Bedein, and project director, Livnat Shaubi were present as were Debbie Gross and Nechama Munk. During the meeting, the girls expressed the difficulty in living under what has become a regular routine of rocket fire. “I haven’t been able to concentrate on my studies for the Bagrut exams,” said one high school girl. Another student added that people don’t understand how terrible the situation is in reality. “I have been taking one-minute showers because I can’t hear the Red Color siren alert when the water is on. Everything I do is timed to the event that the siren alert may sound. ”
Maayan, 16 years old, summed up the situation, saying “it is important for me to say that each Qassam rocket explosion only generates more fear and panic. That fear never disappears and you never get used to it. Each rocket attack continues to shock you again and again.”
SMC director, Noam Bedein emphasized that “it is important for us to understand that each person in Sderot has his or her own personal story [with a rocket explosion]. The goal of Sderot Media Center is to include and share all those stories. This theater project is the perfect way to do that.” Noam also added that “the only weapon we have is the video camera. By spreading this crucial awareness, we are helping save lives and bring hope to the region.”
Nechama Munk, clinical social worker, spoke of the opportunity that each high school girl will have to express her frustration and survival under this reality. “Hopefully this project will influence a change in region and also strengthen the girls as they will continue to cope with whatever lays ahead.” Debbie Gross noted that the project will give the high school girls an outlet to vent their frustration and give them tools in order to cope with the reality.
Livnat Shaubi, the project director, ended the meeting relating her feelings as a Sderot resident. “As a resident of Sderot who lives this abnormal routine week after week, I understand the importance behind this treatment theater,” Shaubi stated. “By May 2009, we plan to perform this play throughout Israel and the world. I believe that this project will give the girls the coping skills they will need to continue on living under future Palestinian rocket fire. The theatrical production will generate the kind of public awareness that this region vitally needs in order to promote a change.”