One of the sentences that my eldest son Jonathan repeated endlessly since October 7th was "Mom, I'm scared. There are bad people out there." Unfortunately, I have heard this sentence from other's children too, until it seems as if they discussed it and concluded that this is the reality for them. It broke my heart.
I think that children should grow up with a sense of security, feeling that the world that they are growing into is a safe and good place. Much research has shown that the feeling of security is necessary for optimal development and growth, mostly in their core years for many reasons. Among other things, it is found to be one of the foundations of their ability to learn, develop social and emotional skills and adaptability. Their ability to explore the world and try new things bdepends on that; it keeps them feeling mentally healthy. It is also one of the things leading them to grow up to be a happy, sociable, and caring people who someday will be beneficial to the world.
I told my son in response: "Jonny, there are also a lot of good people out there." But I felt that it was one of those things that cannot be explained, you must feel it to really know it. It is very important to me that he knows and feels that there is also good in the world. I think that somewhere, we also lost a bit of trust in this, and without it - what are we doing here?
So, we set out on a journey that started in an Israeli hotel and continues here, in Nashville. A journey to restore our faith in humanity.
During our journey, we discovered amazing people. Some of them we already knew and now had the chance to see how wonderful they are. Others, we met along the way. As part of this journey, we arrived here, to amazing Nashville - the place that we have called home for over a month now. And for that - we are very grateful.
So, on behalf of all the families, I want to say thank you.
First, we want to thank Itay Reshef and Avigal Soreq, who made all this possible, recruited and promoted this amazing initiative, who are there for us for everything - big and small.
We also want to thank the generous donors: Shon Ross, and Daryl Hedding and SHAI FUND, who without them all of this would not have happen.
To Itay Cherkesky for all his help with our housing here.
To each one of our wonderful adoptive families here, American and Israeli, who gave us a real feeling of home.
To all the doctors who helped us with medical issues - Dr. David Parla, Dr. Kirk Barton, Dr. Jenna Essakow and Dr. Anna Barmeli.
To Daniella Pressner, Akiva’s school principal, for accepting our kids into her school and giving them the feeling that they are part of the community, for the hugs and all her support. Also, to Lilach Reshef and Yifat Crouvi for all their support and care.
To Michal Beker, Toni Jacobsen, Pam Kelner, and Barbara Dab for all their dedicated work, caring and helping the Israeli families.
And, of course, to each one of you, for coming here today and hearing our story.
Thank you, wonderful community for the warm welcome, the support, the hugs, delicious meals, and warm words. You made us feel and believe in goodness again, and that love will win. If I forgot to mention someone who was involved in our beautiful journey, this is the place to say thank you.
We think it is also very symbolic that we came here at the time of the Hanukkah holiday. Each of us is a small light, and we are together a stronger light. "Sora hosech Me-hashor, Sora - mipne ha’Or". Thank you for brightening our days here.
"There are also many good people out there, even more"; it is important that they feel it. Thank you on behalf of all of us for helping us feel that again.