I feel that today, we’ve finally started the process – The process which I’ve been waiting for so long. After Operation Cast Lead, the school’s organizing, and the return to the normal school routine, tests and matriculation exams, it’s about time.
According to our plan, we arrived to the first out of two school, the Ulpanit. Upon our arrival, we were informed about the death of a 9th grade students’ parent. It was very sad and unpleasant, and also had an effect on our project – Several girls of that class were absent from our meeting. However, we decided to maintain it, anyway. 24 students of the 7th – 9th grades were present. We stated the Theater’s goals and explained the great importance of sharing and revealing to them. The students expressed their interest in the project, and Debbie asked each one of them about the reasons that brought them to us, and why they want to take part in our theater. The students said that they understand the great importance of revealing and displaying the reality which they live in.
After meeting with the students, we had a staff meeting, which included me, Debbie the psychologist, Nechama the social worker, Meital – who’s in charge of the production and directing of the movie, and Dana, who’s doing her year of National Service. We were looking for the best way to produce and expose materials. Should we gather all the students together or split them into 2 groups? Besides the psychological considerations, we also had to pay attention to the production’s considerations, which emphasize the importance of creating dynamics between all the students, and therefore it’s important not to split them into groups. According to Meital, keeping everyone together would form a unified and strong group. Debbie, on the other hand, thought that it would be difficult for the students to eliminate their emotional loads in such a large group. Finally, we decided that until we finish all the home visits and meetings with the students’ families, we’re keeping things as they are now – Two divided groups.
Next, we went to the regional religious high school, in order to meet with the students there. They were excited, and we could definitely feel their strong will to create and to be a part of the therapeutic group. We’ve already visited two students’ families from this group, and meeting them was warm and friendly. I enjoyed seeing the two girls greeting me with smiles and in good mood. It seems that the wish for a friendly bond and “an older sister” has a strong expression in this group, especially after the home visits.
There were 13 students present in this meeting. We had a strong debate about the attitude of Israel towards the residents of Sderot, about the students’ distresses, and about their will to reveal and inform the world about their feelings. One of the students, Mazal, began to protest, and said that “Maybe it’s not nice to feel good about Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva’s new encounter with the terrorism, but it’s a relief to know that they now feel like we’ve been feeling for so long. That’s what finally brought the IDF to operate, and when the operation began, we stopped feeling disrespected”. Some of the girls had experienced personal traumas as a result of the security situation, and the conversations in our meetings will contribute greatly to them. Many of the students want to display and act. Another student, Rotem, shared her view with us and said: “I feel that when I play the character of someone else, I act out something I feel, and it’s easier for me to deliver my feelings that way”.
There’s no doubt that these meetings will produce good outcomes, and provide the students with the strength to cope. I’m sure that the groups’ exposure and sharing, as well as my sharing of personal experiences, would benefit my feelings, too, as a resident of Sderot, and I’m happy for it.