“And she weaned him and took him with her . . . and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh; and the child was young . . . For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of him.” (1 Samuel 1:24-27)
The Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund has begun a new initiative to build playgrounds for embattled communities around Samaria. The aim of the project is to provide the youth of the cities and towns in Samaria with recreational facilities that are necessary for their development within their our townships, so as to reduce the need to travel on roads which have become increasingly dangerous due to the recent wave of Palestinian terrorism and attacks.
“The townships in Samaria have a lot of children,” David Rubin, founder of the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, told Breaking Israel News. “We have perhaps one of the highest birthrates in the world, and we also have a lot of terrorism. Building these playgrounds alleviates the need to travel on roads that have seen a lot of attacks, including rock throwing, firebombs, and shootings in the past,” said Rubin.
Rubin himself was a victim of one of these attacks fourteen years ago in an incident which almost claimed his life and the life of his three-year-old son. That attack, which took place near Givat Assaf, a town outside of the city of Beit-El, inspired the creation of the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund.
The Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund recently built a playground in Givat Assaf to help the children of that town, and the requests for additional playgrounds have been coming in at a very fast pace from other communities in the area. In addition to meeting the basic needs of children for active play, the playgrounds also provide a form of informal therapy that counters the effects of terrorism and gives the children a sense of stability and joy within their home towns.
Rubin’s organization goes by the slogan, “Healing the trauma of terrorism and rebuilding the Biblical heartland of Israel.” Its mission to restore a little bit of the innocence of childhood. “A child who sees a terrorist attack, and we certainly have a disproportionate amount of terror attacks in this area, loses a little bit of their innocence. Children shouldn’t have to worry about terrorists infiltrating their community, or their car and family being attacked on the roads. but that is the reality,” said Rubin.
“We are trying to counter that reality,” he added.
The Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund is open to all children who have suffered traumatic events and utilizes numerous innovative methods to help youth deal with the trauma that they have experienced. Everyone is accepted for its educational and informal therapy programs. Only those in the formal therapy programs must show evidence of trauma. Even so, most of the children have suffered from various levels of trauma, due to the disproportionate level of terrorism in Samaria.
The organization began as a small trauma therapy center and has expanded from there to incorporate services for children all over Samaria for a rapidly growing child population. Today, the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund is able to treat thousands of children each year, in personal as well as group therapy sessions, and provides services for thousands of children all over Samaria.
The therapy center runs over 500 group therapy sessions each year. Aside from physical, occupational and psychological forms of therapy, the center utilizes innovative therapy methods such as music therapy, animal therapy, art therapy, horseback riding therapy, drama therapy, and informal therapy such as the playgrounds to help heal the traumatic effects that terrorism has on children.