by Margarita Kantor, Project Coordinator at Caspari Center
When I came to live in Israel many years ago, I noticed something I found peculiar: Israelis live for today. It’s not that they don’t think about the future at all; it’s just that they make decisions with almost no regard to it.
Now, having lived in Israel for the 16 years, I understand the reason well. There is a constant sense of war: that it is either about to begin, or that it has just ended. Since my Aliyah, I have already experienced five or six wars. On average, that’s a war every three years! Not to mention that between wars, acts of terror are also randomly committed, all over Israel.
War brings frustration and uncertainty for everyone. Even if a believer fully trusts God, it doesn’t relieve them of the pain and suffering of going through the horrors of war. For Israelis, the effect of living in such a reality is the tendency to live for the present and enjoy life to the fullest – until the next (unfortunately) inevitable war.
Over the past year and a half, those of us in Israel have been required to adapt to so many things. For a little over one year, it was because of the covid-19 pandemic, as for the rest of the world. The pandemic locked us in our homes, deprived us of the opportunity to gather together and glorify God in congregations, meet with friends and relatives, attend in-person studies and participate in seminars. It limited us in so many ways, but thankfully not in everything. And then, when it seemed we were nearing the end of that, we suddenly found ourselves it the midst of a war.
As for us at the Caspari Center, and for our local board members, our hearts’ desire was to serve the believers in Yeshua, especially during these unbelievably difficult times. We had already been begun providing assistance and support to Shabbat School teachers by offering an online course when the pandemic hit. A few months into it, the Board of Advisors for our Shabbat School Ministry gathered on Zoom to pray and brainstorm about how we could contribute to the Messianic body at this particular time.
During the first months of the pandemic, everyone quickly adapted to communicating via Zoom. But few of the teachers in children’s ministry realized that it was possible – advisable, even – to hold lessons for children via Zoom, thereby remaining in contact with the children in their congregations. And so we encouraged children’s ministry workers to switch to Zoom, and we instructed them in how to teach children via this platform. Teachers already experienced in using Zoom were happy to share their expertise. Thus we held our first seminar – about Zoom – in Zoom!
More time passed and the pandemic did not end; on the contrary, it spread. Children were at home in lockdown, and spent most of the time on the Internet. We realized that it was time to reach out to the parents, this time, and help them understand the dangers of an open and uncensored Internet. Yet again, the Lord directed us. We engaged a cyber security specialist who works with teachers and parents to explain the “Ten Commandments” of cyber security he had compiled to keep children safe on social media and the Internet (in general), on how to avoid trauma, and where to go for help in case of trauma. The Zoom workshop was very helpful for parents, and many of them said: “If only I’d known this before, my children would have endured less problems!”
We followed this up by a Zoom seminar for parents, given by believing social workers who deal with children’s issues. They provided the parents with practical advice on topics such as how to determine whether a child has been traumatized, how to initiate difficult conversations correctly, how to solve certain problems, etc.
Reality does not allow us to relax. On the contrary, it dictates its own rules, and demands that we adapt. Instead of in-person, we now meet online. Instead of our usual seminars for Shabbat School teachers, we have been providing help and support for parents. My sincere prayer and desire is for the Almighty to help us always be ready for change, in order to provide a rapid and timely response for the people we serve.
This article originally appeared on Caspari Center, June 22, 2021, and reposted with permission.