On July 23, Chagit Yaso was crowned the winner of the national “A Star is Born” competition – Israel’s equivalent of “American Idol”, after delivering this performance.
November 21, 2006 was a day like any other in Sderot. The residents of the city spent most of their time indoors, afraid of the Qassam rockets that could rain down on them at any minute.
Dozens of rockets were fired on the city from the nearby Gaza Strip every day. And this day was no different.
At 8:20 in the morning, the warning sounded throughout the city of an incoming rocket. People were on their way to work, to school, or to various other destinations during the morning rush hour, but with the sound of “Tzeva Adom” (the color red) filling the air throughout the city, all thoughts of work or school vanished. People ran for the nearest shelter or the nearest cover to avoid death from the sky.
The meat packing plant in Sderot’s industrial area was no exception. As employees were beginning their shift, the alarm sounded and they all ran for the plant’s shelter. With only 15 seconds to reach the haven of the protected room, many of the plant’s employees reached the doorway with no time to spare.
One of the plant’s workers stood outside the door shoving people inside as they arrived. The last person he managed to push over the threshold was Tova Yaso – a woman who had immigrated from Ethiopia 26 years earlier and had been working at the meat plant for the past 20 years.
As Tova got into the protected room, “the entire world crashed down” upon her. The rocket struck the roof of the plant and came crashing into the loading area just outside the shelter. Tova suffered moderate injuries to her legs. The co-worker who had pushed her into the shelter was killed in the explosion.
Four months after the attack, Tova returned to work at the plant, but when she walked by the now repaired loading area, she broke down and couldn’t continue working at the plant.
OneFamily stepped in with financial help, personal counseling, vocational retraining, and the involvement of our case worker to help Tova through the bureaucratic process so that she could begin receiving benefits from the government. At the same time, we also came to know Tova’s husband and to be completely amazed by the talents of her three children.
Tova’s oldest daughter, Chagit, was already an accomplished singer, filling the lead role with the Sderot youth choir. She completed high school, and then did her military service as a lead singer with the IDF choir, helping to raise the morale of the soldiers – particularly those serving in southern Israel and those who would later become involved in Operation Cast Lead to bring an end to the rocket fire from Gaza.