Invigorating. Rejuvenating. Enriching. Energizing.
These are the first words that came to mind after spending the morning with a group of Holocaust survivors as part of TUNE Cares.
On a September morning, several TUNE employees gathered in Ramat Gan, just a few minutes from our office to spend the morning at the Amcha Day Activity Center.
This facility is a meeting place for Holocaust survivors to get together, participate in activities such as therapy, yoga, art, card games, and general social togetherness. The visit was facilitated by an organization called OneDay Social Volunteering, which hosts volunteering activities all over Israel. Their team connected us with an activity that matches TUNE’s needs, size, location, and ethos.
Our team in Tel Aviv had the opportunity to attend an event marking the beginning of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) as well as some of the members’ recent birthdays. We helped set up the event space, and then joined them in raising a toast for the New Year. After a few words from different members of the group, we proceeded to dance the morning away with some excellent tunes.
The friends we met were vivacious and loved to dance. We didn’t expect that we would have such trouble keeping up with them! After our wild dance party (yes it’s true), we offered refreshments to the participants. We had some time to mingle, hear about their families and lives, and some participants shared parts of their striking life stories with us.
When I think about Holocaust survivors, my context is usually one of remembrance and somber thoughts. This activity was so exceptional in the sense that we got to see such a positive light and feeling from the participants.
So often when we’re at work, we get absorbed by our daily tasks and work goals, and we forget to connect to what’s really important. Opportunities like these allow us to focus on the values that are underneath our work. We were able to put some of our TUNE values into practice. “Be excellent to each other” was center stage with this activity.
We left the center feeling on a high — we felt like the tables had turned. We came to “give” to these people, but in reality, we felt that we were the ones who received a gift from them.
One little anecdote that encapsulates the experience: One of our TUNE staff asked a participant if today was her birthday. She replied, “No; but for me, every day is my birthday!” After all the trials and travails that these survivors have been through they are able to finally celebrate and enjoy life, and it’s nothing less than inspiring. What a way to celebrate life and welcome the New Year!
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Esther is a software support engineer at TUNE Tel Aviv offices. She is originally from the West Coast of Canada and has been living in Israel for the past 20 years. Along with always being in the search of a new adventure and challenge, she can never say no to good wine and dark chocolate.