One Family Foundation – Overcoming Terror Together
OneFamily was founded in 2001 by the Belzberg family in the wake of the devastating suicide bombing of the Sbarro’s restaurant, in which 15 people were killed and 130 were wounded. Among the dead were 7 children. The attack took place at 2pm, when the restaurant was at its peak of customers.
At the time of the attack, Marc and Chantal Belzberg were preparing to celebrate the bat mitzvah of their daughter, Michal. Stunned by the scale of the attack – the worst of the Second Intifada up to that time – the family made a joint decision to cancel the celebration and use the money to help the victims of the attack instead. They also encouraged friends and family members to send contributions instead of gifts. Within a short time, the family collected $100,000 to help the victims.
Since 2001, OneFamily has helped more than 11,000 Israeli victims of terror financially, emotionally, or legally and the organization has received a number of prestigious awards including the 2011 Presidents Award for Volunteerism.
OneFamily has a unique model of victim outreach. It is based on helping victims develop a family environment for peer-to-peer support. When those who have suffered are connected to others who have undergone similar trauma, gateways for healing are opened and recovery is enhanced. They call the approach The Power of Together. The key to its success lies in ensuring that no one who has suffered from terror, either as a direct victim or as a family member of a victim, need bear the burden alone. The true healing process begins when the victims believe they are receiving the support they need.
Over the years, OneFamily has expanded its mandate from only helping victims financially – often providing essential support that keeps terror victims from falling into a cycle of poverty because of the costs of recovery – to providing support services to deal with the trauma of terror as well.
These include group counseling as well as retreats and outings for orphans, bereaved parents, parents of injured children, widows and widowers, young adults, and youth. Social workers at OneFamily are on hand 24/7 to provide support to thousands of victims.