This weekend, during the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, a day synonymous with spiritual healing and reflection, Hamas terrorists launched a heinous attack on Israeli civilians, murdering hundreds, injuring thousands, and kidnapping an untold number of innocent men, women and children.
As a Jewish social service agency, our mission is to support the mental health of our community. During a time of crisis, this becomes our priority. We also know that while our doors are open to everyone, we have a lasting connection to our Jewish community. Many of us—staff, volunteers, and donors—have close ties to people in Israel. For those without personal connections, the images of suffering have deeply touched their minds and hearts. As such, while we join others in praying for peace and safety, we clearly recognize our local community’s need for support and space to process the latest events.
To address this need, JFS will be working in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver to offer support to the people and families impacted by the recent attacks in Israel:
- For community events including crisis support and anti-Semitism discussion groups, check our events calendar.
- For more information or individual counselling sessions in English or Hebrew, we encourage you to call the JFS care line at 604-558-5719 or email at [email protected]. We currently have one Hebrew-speaking therapist available.
Other additional community resources include:
- Mental health support: get help - Canada.ca
- Kids Help Phone: call 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868
- Foundry: Confidential drop-in counseling for ages 12-24 year olds
If you or someone you care about is in imminent crisis, please call 911.
For those not yet ready to access direct support, we also want to share some resources that might help you, your children, and your loved ones navigate these difficult times:
- HelpGuide: How to Cope with Traumatic Events
- PTSD Association of Canada’s trauma resources and links
- Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools has resources for schools on violence and terrorist attacks in Israel
- Canadian Consortium on Child & Youth Trauma
- The 9/11 Memorial and Museum's article on talking to children about terrorism.
In the coming days and weeks, we may amplify our efforts by taking additional action. In the interim, let us all pray for the safe return of all the innocent civilians that have been ripped from their families, the healing for all those suffering, and most of all, for peace in Israel, and for all humanity.
Tanja Demajo (she/her)