Full of energy Bert and Riet came to Israel.

Sep 1, 2016 | 0 comments

Full of energy Bert and Riet came on January 1 with suitcases full of materials to Israel to give workshops. The workshops were about doll making and baking bread. Besides to the children of Sderot they gave workshops to several groups of new immigrants and Holocaust survivors in Jerusalem, in collaboration with social work.

  • Bert and Riet, born in the Netherlands, now living in Switzerland. How did you actually came in contact with Yad L’Ami?

In October I was visiting an aunt of mine in the Netherlands. The magazine Charisma was laying there and I read an article about Yad L ‘Ami, in which you spoke about the work in Sederot. It touched my heart. Upon returning to Switzerland (where we are living for 45 year)  I showed my husband the article. From that time we started to pray for Sderot and your work.

We more and more got the feeling that we should go there with our gifts to serve God and the Jewish people.

  • What forced you to come to Israel?

The love for the Jewish people, Israel and the Bible.

  • The first 2 weeks you gave workshops in Sderot. What did you do exactly?

We did crafts with traumatized children. Forming faces of dolls, painting and dressing. The clothes and wigs I sewed early in the morning before we went. Bert did all the other preparations. We drove up and down every day, from Jerusalem to Sderot, with a rented car filled with boxes full of materials. We made 53 dolls with the children in Sderot.

  • That was pretty intense. When not one of us accompanied you, how did you deal with the language?

That was no problem. We spoke with hands and feet and just showed what they had to do. There was much laughter and we and pulled funny faces and they understood us. Most leaders of the groups knew also some English, so they translated for us as good as it went.

  • After two weeks in Sderot you gave some workshops in Jerusalem to a group of new immigrants from Ethiopia. Can you tell us something about the baking course with this group of women?

Ethiopian women had very quickly put us in their hearts. Dough was for them no problem. You notice they were experienced. New for them was forming dough in several shapes. Bert made braided bread and several nice shapes. Because there was no oven in the house, the women had to take the dough in a tin home.  Some men were present. When we tried to give them flour to make dough, they jumped out of their skin and quickly went outside, waiting there for their wives to come. The women told us, men never bake bread. Baking bread is really a women’s job.

  • We hear the atmosphere was very good and they all experienced the workshops as positive?

Very positive. We were invited as a team to an Ethiopian evening with delicious snacks and lots of sauces and self- roasted coffee beans on a fire. There was singing and making music on a special instrument from Ethiopia. Everyone wanted a picture taking with us and when I was saying goodbye, I (Riet) got embraced by all women and kissed.

  • You finished with a group of war survivors from former Russia. What was your experience with them?

Here, it was the first time we made puppets with older people. Most of them wanted to make a doll their grandchild. There was a good atmosphere from the start. The people rejoiced to do something new, like something they had never done. The first time we finished with tasty food, because there was someone’s birthday and we ended with playing the piano, singing and dancing and lots of happy faces.

  • In addition to the fun you had with different groups, this was obviously a very good therapy. Now you have also worked with different ages. If you come back next time [ as we hope], which age group would you prefer? And why?

Both groups offered us a pleasant experience . We like to come back again! God willing, and we live. Maybe with other workshops. We already have some ideas in our heads. We are grateful that we can do this. God has blessed us all these years! We want to serve Him with all our heart and to be a blessing to the Jewish people in Israel!