This past Thursday, Tara Feiner, our Jewish Family Services Director left for Israel to participate in a social worker seminar at the Galilee Medical Center. The seminar gives participants the opportunity to meet professionals from Israel, share their expertise with one another, and see how social work differs in Israel and the U.S.

The seminar, which was organized and sponsored by the Federation’s Partnership2Gether program, includes two social workers from Dayton ~Sharon Guenther (Manager of Social Work Services at Miami Valley Hospital’s Department of Integrated Care Management) and Heather Hackett (Medical Social Worker at Dayton Children’s Hospital).

Sadly, the group witnessed first-hand how Israel responds to trauma. On March 4th, two soldiers, a border guard and a civilian were injured in a car-ramming attack in the northern Israeli city of Acco. The victims, and the driver of the vehicle, were taken to the Galilee Medical Center while the group was visiting the hospital.

In addition to touring the hospital, the group has shadowed social workers and attended lectures on support for Holocaust survivors and mass casualty events. Tara, Sharon and Heather are thrilled and overjoyed to have had this opportunity to travel to Israel, and learn from their colleagues. As their time in Israel comes to a close, I know this experience will be life-changing, not only for them, but for those who are lucky enough to hear about their experience and benefit from the knowledge they gained in Israel.

While social workers from the U.S. are in Israel, the Israel Trauma Coalition recently arrived in Broward County, Florida, which was the location of a tragic mass shooting on February 14th. The team is holding training sessions for community members, specifically aimed at teachers, counselors, clinicians, clergy, social organizations and first responders. Some teachers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who witnessed the shooting first-hand, have been in attendance at the training sessions. So far, the Israel Trauma Coalition has trained over 450 community members in Broward County.

This is not the first time the Israel Trauma Coalition has come to the U.S. to help in the aftermath of tragedy. They were on hand after the October 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, in which 58 people lost their lives. They also sent a team to Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

Our world has become smaller; as we see through events like these that our neighbors halfway around the world aren’t so far away after all.




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