Sderot - The triumph of the continuation of life over terror

By Eran Shmueli-David-- In the summer of 2007 at 6 am a kassam rocket, launched from Gaza, penetrated the roof of Sderot community centre and exploded in the empty dance studio. A dance class that was scheduled later that morning at 8 am with more than 20 elementary school girls was cancelled. I visited Sderot on that day two years ago met Avi Sulimani the director of the community centre who took me to see the hole in the roof of the dance studio so I could better understand how surreal the situation was. I recall the innocent protests of the girls who were so disappointed and shocked when they came in to see that their dance studio was bombed. A child's broken spirit and despair is never easy to bear.

In summer 2009 a second fortified floor has been completed at the community centre due to the support of the Canadian Jewish community through IEC. This new floor will enable Sderot kids to dance, study, sing, and enjoy a play, karate lessons regardless of the on going threat of being attacked by a random rocket that could in an instance disrupt the course of a normal life. Such a rocket was launched August 2009 after weeks of tense silence. Parents can now have some peace of mind knowing that their kids are protected and safe at the community centre.

Sderot celebrated the triumph of the continuation life over terror at a very special and intimate ceremony that took place in Sderot community centre in August 2009. A bran new and beautiful dance studio was dedicated to Yael Matlow from Toronto who so generously donated her Bat Mitzvah gifts to the rebuilding and equipping of a new dance studio located on the new second fortified floor. Yael who is a talented dancer herself heard about this opportunity through Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto. I can report from the field that this modest act of tzedaka brought much strength and hope to many of the parents and kids in Sderot who enjoy dancing.

While driving back home I kept thinking how natural Yael's connection is to the kids in Sderot and how this connection is the essence of our narrative as a people, country, community and individual. Yael's act of tzedaka should be a source of inspiration to us all.