Day Five, Six + Seven

Tkooma began 7 days ago, shortly after Israel change overnight. Tens of thousands of people became refugees in their own country (some also mourners, survivors, or injured). This is unprecedented and the government has not gotten its arms around it (to put it mildly). Most existing foundations, whom we know well, are doing incredible work in their areas, but are not set up to deal with the nature and volume of these new needs. It’s a total paradigm shift, and the gap is growing by the day. Brave citizens are jumping to fill the gap, but they are massively undercapitalized.

Our journey has led us to see unimaginable hardships, but also true heroism. This is a resilient nation, and we will bounce back, but we all need to come together. We are raising $20M and we need your support.

We are building a website that will go live tomorrow and I will share the link in my next update on Tuesday. Over the next couple of days we will finalize our plans for a large number of projects we intend to stand behind and the website will allow us to share their full detail (and if you want to spread the word, it will provide a simple link to do so)

Detailed work aside, here is what we have experienced in the last three days:

I joined the Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Retired Major General Doron Almog, to a beachfront resort where the survivors of Kfar Aza were evacuated to. Kfar Aza is one of the two kibbutzim suffering the greatest losses. Their stories were unambiguous — they had gone through a holocaust. They have also displayed unfathomable courage!!!

Meeting Retired Major General Doron Almog.

Doron Almog (right) comforting former CFO of the Jewish Agency and Head of Shaar Hanegev Municipality Shay Hermesh (center). Shay lost his son on October 7th.

On the lawn were numerous tents, each set as a ‘Shiva’ place for a different family, and there were many. While Shiva typically lasts 7 days, for some, the definitive identification, let alone burial, was only recent.

I sat with Hadas, a brave woman who spent 36 hours fighting for her life and the lives of her children, and who was told only 2 days later that her missing brother was killed protecting the kibbutz. Her recount of the events was impossible to process.

Hadas Eylon (left) spent 36 hours fighting of terrorists to and lost her brother on October 7th.

Later, we met other survivors. Shay-lee and her month-old baby who survived while her husband was murdered protecting the kibbutz. Mandy whose daughter was kidnapped, and Ronen who together with his son fended off terrorists for many hours.

We also visited a center for newcomers from Ethiopia, where the residents of another center which was impacted, had been evacuated to. The evacuated children were drawing pictures and letters to soldiers. The one in the picture below says ‘Dear soldiers, thank you for keeping us safe, we love you.’

Ethiopian children evacuated from southern Israel write letters to soldiers.

Separately, in Tel Aviv, the Project Tkooma team visited law offices that had been transformed into a center for the families of the kidnapped and the missing. We went there to understand specifically what needs these families have that we can assist with. Now, we are working on an initiative to offer immediate financial aid to more than 300 families of the kidnapped or missing. We spoke to Meirav Leshem Gonen who after 14 days of complete uncertainty received news that her missing daughter is in captivity.

Thank you all for you incredible support. I want to end with something Major General Almog said to me today — the State of Israel and Jewish people around the world, are inextricably linked. And it has never felt more true to me than it did today!


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