A little over a year ago Ebenezer Home was given permission to have young Israelis do their National Service with us. This service is for those who for some reason are unable to do regular IDF service. Soon after we got our first-ever National Service request from Abigail.
She quickly became part of the Home, and the residents always looked forward to every day when she came in with a cheerful "shalom!" and "how are you?". Doing routine hard work of helping the nurses, going to the lab and to the chemist; arranging interactive games, interesting movies, holiday activities and so much more; and just spending one-on-one time with the residents - those are just a few things she did during her year with us.
Abigail radiates joy, and always with a smile on her face. The Home is a very different place from her usual environment, and it took her time to overcome several challenges. The residents welcomed her with open arms and showed lots of love and warmth, says Abigail, - "they are like grandparents to me and I will never forget all the fun we had together".
She became friends with our volunteers and had great time with them too. It was fun to discover cultural differences and cook different kinds of food for each other. Abigail heard about Christmas and New Year Eve celebrations and volunteers spent a weekend at her home and took part in Shabbat celebration.
Abigail says she will remember many highlights from the year she shared her life with us. Making chocolate balls with the residents - putting on aprons and caps and eating the sweet work of their hands; going to the beach with Antoinette and both of them running in the sand like little girls; going on the annual trip, seeing the residents outside the Home and having lunch together at the restaurant - these and more, but especially sharing the holiday activities. Sukkot - Abigail's favorite holiday - sitting together in the Sukkah rejoicing before the Lord; Hanukkah - lighting candles, singing and playing dreidel games, sharing childhood stories; tu b'shvat with the dried fruit and sharing what each one loves about Israel - and the list goes on. No post can contain all the experiences and feelings we shared in Ebenezer Home.
Abigail endeared herself to all of us. At her end-of-the-service party she gave each resident a framed photo of a memorable moment they shared. This brought tears and lots of hugs from the residents to her and her family, who came to participate in the event.
Summing up the year, Abigail said, "It was challenging, it was a privilege and a blessing to serve at the Home, and it was definitely an experience that built me up".
We pray for every blessing for Abigail as she continues her life journey!