For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Gordon - A Dog Named Hibuki
24 January '12..
Writing about the significance of the fact that an Israeli university, the Technion, recently won a global competition in partnership with Cornell to establish New York’s planned NYCTech campus, David Suissa and Mitch and Elliot Julis eloquently captured the “cruel paradox” that defines Israel: “a country that is forced to use its wits to defend itself but would much prefer using its wits to save the world.” Yet in truth, these two halves of the paradox aren’t always at odds; Israel often succeeds in performing a kind of alchemy that converts the painful lessons learned from being perennially under attack into ways of benefiting humanity as a whole. Nothing illustrates this better than one of the most heartwarming stories I’ve read in a long time: the tale of how an Israeli-developed therapy technique utilizing a sad-faced stuffed dog named Hibuki (Hebrew for “huggy”) was used to treat children traumatized by last year’s tsunami in Japan.
The technique, originally developed to treat Israeli children traumatized by rocket fire during the Second Lebanon War of 2006, enables children who would be reluctant to explain why they themselves are sad to instead tell parents and teachers why Hibuki is sad. Additionally, having the children “take care of” Hibuki helps them heal by diverting them from their own trauma.
After the tsunami hit, an Israeli therapist who frequently accompanies the country’s medical missions abroad realized the technique might be well-suited to Japan, with its long tradition of puppetry. She proposed the idea to a Japanese colleague, who invited an Israeli team to come and explain the technique to the Japanese Puppet Therapy Association. The association was wowed, and the next day, the Israelis were asked to accompany Japanese colleagues to the stricken coast to begin the treatment. As Haaretz’s report related, “Japanese law prohibits anyone who didn’t study medicine in Japan from providing medical aid to a local resident,” but an exception was made for the Israeli delegation, “because of its experience in treating victims of mass trauma.”
Now the therapy is spreading to other countries as well, the report said: Cambodia has expressed interest, and “word of the Israeli project has even reached Tehran: The website Tehran Newsletter published an article describing the principles of Hibuki therapy and called on the Islamic Republic of Iran to adopt them as a means to help the country’s children.
But this is more than a heartwarming story of how Israel is helping to make the world a better place – even for its bitterest enemies. It also embodies Israel’s greatest strength: its adherence to the Biblical injunction, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life.”
All too often, its enemies choose death, even boasting of it: As Hamas parliamentarian Fathi Hammad once put it: “We desire death like you desire life.” But Israel, faced with death on a daily basis, invariably chooses life – for itself and for the world. And by so doing, a country at war since the day it was born has not merely survived, but grown and thrived.
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I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"