From Crisis to Community: A Tale of Resilience and Solidarity - P2G


I'm Gali, and I served as the St. Paul Jewish Federation Shalicha in 2006. These days, my family and I live in a Kibbutz that's part of the St. Paul Jewish Federation Partnership area (P2G Sovev Kinneret region) near the Sea of Galilee. I'm also responsible for assisting refugees who have arrived in our area since the war started on October 7th. 

On October 7th, we woke up to distressing news of a major attack in the southern area of Israel. Initially, we didn't fully grasp the situation, but as the day unfolded, the gravity of it became clear. 

By Saturday afternoon, I received text messages from people in the South who were trapped in their bomb shelters due to nearby terrorists. These individuals knew me from previous evacuations during rocket attacks, so they reached out for help. I assured them of our support and immediately started gathering donations to purchase food for their arrival. It took nearly 24 hours for these individuals to escape their besieged Kibbutz in the South, and by Sunday, some families had made it to our town. Unfortunately, I also received messages from others on Saturday who couldn't make it due to injuries or the loss of family members. 

To provide proper care for those who arrived, we assigned host families from our Kibbutz to each refugee family and organized logistics like mattresses and essential supplies. We collaborated with the mental health department to ensure they received the necessary emotional support after the harrowing events of October 7th. Remarkably, we managed all this through donations and volunteer efforts without government assistance. 

Within two days, we had 200 refugees from the South in our Kibbutz and some from the North due to security alerts along the border. The North arrivals, primarily children, sought activities, so we transformed our local museum into a community center, enlisted volunteers, and organized daily kids' activities. The initial days were hectic with phone calls from people trying to escape North and South. Finding host families for each refugee family was a priority. 

After two weeks, some families left, and saying goodbye was emotionally challenging. Since then, our Kibbutz has become a new community, hosting 250 people, including 100 children. We began receiving support from the government and other state agencies, recognizing our role as a refugee integration center. They informed us that we should expect to host refugees for at least six months. Consequently, we established a structured daily routine, including educational facilities from kindergartens to elementary schools in repurposed buildings. 

We also set up a laundry system with donated washers, created a "community living room" for indoor activities during rainy weather, and are working on establishing a community kitchen for shared cooking experiences. 

Looking ahead, we understand that we will live together for an extended period and are actively working on fostering a sense of community. To achieve this, we've formed a sub-committee consisting of Kibbutz members and refugees to brainstorm ideas for community-building initiatives. 

We've witnessed incredible solidarity in these challenging times and met wonderful people. The support we receive from the St. Paul community reminds us that we are not alone.

As Chanukah approaches, a holiday centered on miracles, I pray for a miracle to bring all the hostages back safely home. 

With deep love, 


To support Gali and our work in our partner region of Sovev-Kinneret, give to our annual campaign.