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7 Hours Behind: How to Make a Difference, through Art

Tags: Arts and Culture, Israel Engagement, Terror, Soldiers and defense, Youth

By Craig Dershowitz

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There is something terribly surreal about living 7 hours behind Israel. There are those times when it is like being in a dream where you see something bad happening and you are powerless to stop it.

A glass rolling off a table and you are just not quick enough to catch it before…

…You wake up to hear of another three rocket attacks in the South or a kidnapping attempt in the Gush. Unfortunately, there are too many examples of the kind of thing I can use. Another day, another novel way our people are threatened.

Then, as your day in America begins and expands, the specifics come closer and closer. Whatever it was is over in Israel and we here, in the middle of our day, learn the names of the injured, we know the extent of their injuries and more than we wanted to ever know about someone being hurt. We rush to the evening to get home to read more or reload our FB page hoping it ends differently than anticipated. But, we know it won’t because it already happened and Israel is already asleep and who knows what happens tomorrow.

Artists 4 Israel created the Healing Arts Kits because we were sick of waiting for that glass to fall off the table. We were sick of being powerless to stop things and only be there to help post fact. The Healing Arts Kits are designed to PREVENT PTSD. Artists 4 Israel created a distribution system so that they are available immediately after a terrorist attack or some other type of traumatic incident. We are honored to announce our partnership with another group that demands to be as proactive and committed to saving lives – United Hatzalah.

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These Kits, designed by a consortium of psychiatrists, art therapists, emergency medical professionals, artists and teachers are the only tool aimed to prevent he onset of new cases of PTSD. Its proprietary products, psychological and scientific underpinnings and unique distribution methodologies have been endorsed by the Herzog Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma and the Israel Trauma Coalition.

Currently, Artists 4 Israel and United Hatzalah are running a pilot program of the Ambulance Version of the Healing Arts Kits on UH’s ambucycles. So far, it has been used three times. All three were incredibly successful. Yesterday morning, I woke to this quote:

“Friday at noon we got a call for an extremely injured child in a playground. A paramedic went to the field to secure the area. There is a child crying hysterically and her mom is trying to hold her. The teachers and on site medical person are standing around trying to help but she is not letting anyone close to her. They can’t even get near enough to her to see the extent of the injury or to give her medical treatment. The Hatzalah medic brings the Healing Arts Kits out and offers it to the child. Immediately, the child begins to calm. She lets the medic near here. It creates a bond of trust. Then, while she gets more involved with the therapeutic supplies in the Kit and is distracted by her own play, the medic moves into providing the physical care she needs.”

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The day before, I woke up to this one:

“The Healing Arts Kits were at the scene of a fire today that engulfed a whole building. A child was evacuated. He was frightened by the firemen in their foreign looking costumes and the loud noises, smoke and hearing his own parents crying and afraid. The Kits worked as needed, distracting and calming him, allowing the United Hatzalah emergency workers to focus on treating those who had been physically injured, knowing the emotional injured were cared for.”

This time, the glass did not fall and the dream was not a nightmare.

It was liberating and wonderful to know that because of the work we have done, even while we slept comfortably in our homes here, we were able to provide immediate, first aid for those in Israel. It made it easier to look forward to the day ahead

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Craig Dershowitz is the Executive Director of Artists 4 Israel. In 2013, the One Israel Fund presented him with the Shomer Yisrael award. In 2012, Prime Minister Netanyahu presented Mr. Dershowitz with an award for his advocacy work and the Speaker of the Knesset has credited Craig with “changing our perceptions of PR and having an impact on our policy and style.” His most proud accomplishment was receiving the key to the city of Sderot.


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Tags: Arts and Culture, Israel Engagement, Terror, Soldiers and defense, Youth


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