Debbie Gross, Director of the Crisis Center for Religious Women in Jerusalem, conducted Post Trauma Intervention Workshops last summer during Operation Protective Edge. The workshops were sponsored by OU Israel.
The Crisis Center has a variety of ongoing activities. They are now preparing for an international conference in Jerusalem, The Jewish Community Confronts Violence and Abuse, December 1-3.
Last summer, Gross and her staff organized workshops for children and adults who were under fire from rockets being shot from Gaza. The workshops were sponsored by OU Israel.
A developmental psychologist, she started the Crisis Center for Religious women in 1993, “because there was no center like this for the religious public,” she says. “It was originally designed to deal with abuse but we also deal with other kinds of stress.”
After the Second War in Lebanon (2006), she perceived the need to help residents of Israel’s north. She trained staff and started post trauma workshops. “Generally in Israel there isn’t enough activity that is quick enough to prevent people from going into trauma,” she says.
As a result, she joined with OU Israel to build a joint program for victims of the War in Lebanon. “Once the war was over we started working two days a week in Sderot [less than 10 kms from Gaza] because we perceived a need.” The residents of Sderot have been targeted by rockets fired from Gaza since 2001.
“The goal of our workshops is to help kids build inner safety,” she says. “During the Second War in Lebanon, no one thought Haifa or Tsefat would be targeted. And it was the same last summer. No one thought this war would go on for weeks. The kids started thinking that maybe they would never be safe,” she says, “and that leads to trauma.”