koby.jpg



Rationale


I decided to do my project on the organization "Keren Koby Mandel".

This organization was started in memory of Koby Mandell. Koby was a special boy, He loved sports, he loved learning, hiking, and most of all, he loved laughing. Koby was a good friend of my brother and we all knew him very well. On May 8th , 2001 Koby along with another friend - Yosef Ishran, decided to skip school and go on a hike to the rocky countryside of Tekoa. On the following day the bodies of both kids were found in a cave around that area.
As a result of this tragedy Koby’s parents, Sheri and Seth, started the foundation to help other families cope with the loss of loved ones to a terrorist attack, as they did.
The foundation helps in many ways: It has weekly programs for women who have lost a loved one. It runs camp 3 times a year for kids who have family that were victims to terrorist attacks. The camp is run by counselors from 10th to 12th grade who volunteer their time there.
This foundation runs only on donations so if you pick up a pen and write a check you’ll help more than you can even imagine.

The reason I picked to research “Keren Koby Mandel” is that it shows almost everything I believe in: that we have to work together and be there for each other to show that we care whether it’s volunteering or donating and that’s what in my eyes represents the face of Israel.
I think what Sheri and Seth do daily to help people should be an inspiration to all of us, that it’s much bigger than us and if we just help a few people we can make a difference!!


Who was Koby?keren.jpg


Koby was born June 14th, 1987 in Silver Spring, Maryland. to Sheri and Seth Mandell.
He was the oldest of four kids, 3 boys and a girl. He loved his family very much and loved spending time with them.
Koby played third base in baseball. He was a great basketball player, he loved Michael Jordan and Cal Ripken and even in Israel, he collected baseball cards. He followed American sports on the Internet, and tried to stay up-to-date/
Koby loved sports, he also loved learning, hiking, telling jokes, and most of all, he loved laughing.
At age 8, when he was in 4th grade, Koby and his family made aliyah to Efrat. It was very hard for him, because he didn’t speak any Hebrew and he missed his friends, but he never complained. He didn’t speak in class for about a year, but because he was a good athlete, he was immediately accepted by the boys.
Koby was very modest and didn’t brag about any of his accomplishments. He loved to read and would read the same book over and over till he memorized it.
In 1999 the Mandell family picked up and moved out to Tekoa.
Koby was the first one in his family that celebrated his bar mitzvah in Israel, and in addition to the Bar Mitzvah itself in the 'shul'; the celebration included a party with dancing and trips around Israel. (He loved this country more than anything)
Koby fit in really well with his class and everyone wanted to be his friend,
On Tuesday morning may 7th Koby and one of his friends, Yosef Ishran, decided to skip school and go on a hike to the rocky countryside of Tekoa. On the following day, May 8th, the bodies of both boys were found in a cave around that area.

For more information on Koby-
http://www.kobymandell.org/klife.htm

A perspective on Koby
through another's eye… (Eitan Gordon)
A perspective on Koby through another's eye… (Eitan Gordon)

I knew Koby really well, We were best friends at the time and we did everything together. Even though I was only 13 and I only knew Koby for about 3 years I have so many memories with him that I will never forget.
I remember how I used to love to go out to Tekoa and we would hang out at his house, or when he would sleep over at mine. People think it hurts to talk about a lost one, and at first it does, but over the years the pain goes away and it feels good to talk about him every once in a while.
The thing I remember doing most with Koby has to be playing basketball. I remember how we used to trade baseball cards. I remember that Koby always wore 'the' hat; a blue and brown hat that says OK on it, He never took that hat off, it was a rare moment when it came off his head.
I loved going to the theaters with Koby; I also loved hiking and just hanging around. One of Koby's favorite foods was pizza; I remember how we used to go to Pizzeria Efrat all the time. I don't know why I remember this fact but when I went to his house I remember how Koby's grandmother used to make really good French toast that was very thick.koby_and_friends.jpg
When I picture Koby today I picture him the same: the weird funny guy who was my best old. years 20 size, my him picture also I but friend,Koby was killed on a Tuesday I remember that that day we were planning to go to the theaters, but on Monday night I called him up and canceled. The next day when Koby didn't show up I thought nothing of it and although his parents called me worried twice the thought that something happened didn't even cross my mind. Wednesday morning when they told us at school that the bodies of Koby and Yosef were found I didn't know what to do with myself, all I remember is running out of the room crying. I remember how at first I was angry at him and then in a kind of state where I didn't even want to talk to him but then I got over it and just missed him.
I have so many good memories of Koby that I will never give up for the world, He was such a good friend!
(It turns out that Koby was planning to go on that hike anyway and then come out to Efrat to go to the theaters with me…)
Based on an interview with Eitan Gordon, 4/1/2008.


The foundation

Information about this page was taken directly from the Koby Mandell site, www.kobymandell.org
After Koby was murdered, Sheri and Seth knew immediately that the loss could easily destroy their family. They knew that they had to fight against their pain, and their suffering. They felt that the best way they could do that was to take the cruelty of Koby's death and transform it into kindness. They wanted to help people like themselves that were struck by terror, to be able to return to life. All of the programs that the Koby Mandell Foundation have are for children and adults who are coping with the loss of a loved one.
Programs that the Koby Mandell Foundation provide:

1. Camp Koby -
Camp Koby provides children of families who were struck by terror with a place where they can be understood. Surrounded by kids their own age that understand them, specially trained counselors and professional therapists, children naturally share their stories and express their feelings. Kids love Camp Koby because it's fun, with exciting programs that were specially prepared for each age group. Children feel free to have a good time.

2. Mothers' Healing Retreat –
The Mothers' Healing Retreat brings together women whose husbands or children have been killed in terrorist attacks, and nurtures them physically, emotionally, and spiritually so they know they are not alone. The women who participate in the healing programs form strong bonds with each other. The retreat includes weekly phone counseling by a professional grief counselor and monthly support meetings. Many mothers say that the phone calls and meetings give them the strength to live more fully.

3. Big Brother/ Sister Program –
The Big Brother/ Sister program sustains the closeness, trust and confidence developed at Camp Koby. Counselors participate in training programs and are supervised by The Koby Mandell Foundation's staff of professional social workers and therapists. Counselors meet weekly with the children and periodically larger groups of counselors and children meet for area wide programs. The Camp Koby Big Brother/Big Sister Project is a key element for supporting children in their movement through trauma and grief throughout the whole year.

4. Women's Learning Program –
Once a week, every Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 1:00, 10 mothers (between the ages of 25 and 60) meet and learn together at the office of the Koby Mandell Foundation. The first class is facilitated by a bereaved mother, Piki Apter. The women learn the texts of Rev Ashlag and other texts and then discuss their personal situations in light of what they have learned. The second class is in Hassidut and related to the parsha and holidays and taught by Nechama Gross.kobypic3.jpg

For more information about the ‘keren’-
http://www.kobymandell.org/programs.htm




Dovid Kopinsky

I made aliyah in 1982 as a child along with my family. I think the main reason my parents made aliyah is because it's the place Jews belong. I love living here very much, the thing I find most amazing is that almost everyone you meet has something in common with you. (Unless they're not Jewish)
About 6 years ago I found an ad in the newspaper looking for a camp organizer in Keren Koby Mandell, At first I worked here part time and then about 5 years ago I started full time.
I'm mainly in charge of the camps. Basically everything from organizing the camp activities to organizing the bus schedule.
I love working at the Keren, I think it's most rewarding to see the kids enjoy themselves at the camps, with smiles on their faces.
There are some hard parts in the job to; when I schedule the activities for the camps I know that I'm about to change it a few times. I have to take all the complaints and do something with it, - change it, and it’s not an easy thing to change stuff one day before the camp.
The camp is broken down into groups; first you have the three camps during the year, Chanukah, Pessach and the summer. In those there are three groups, boys and girls mixed, boys alone and girls alone. In those three groups there are four different age groups, from 7 until 20ish.
To program a camp (which includes: food, sleeping places, hikes, activities, counselors etc’) it takes a while, right now, December 19th, they are already working on the Pessach and the summer camps. So it’s really hard to be bored.
Every year the keren receives hundreds of counselor requests and can only accept about a tenth of them, because we leave most of the counselors from the previous year but like the campers they take more counselors every year. There are about 300 kids per camp and in the summer there are closer to 500 kids.
In my opinion Dovid’s job is one of the most rewarding jobs anyone can


Creative assignment-



For my creative assignment I chose to make a kipa, a kipa is built as one shape but with thousands of stitches. Each stitch matters, the kipa will fall apart if it's missing even one single stitch but one stitch alone doesn't make a difference. As is with this country, each person makes a difference and matter in this world, but the important part is all of us standing together. To see the bigger picture and not just ourselves.
In my opinion what Sherri and Seth are doing for this country- is seeing the bigger picture, instead of grieving the loss of Koby, they took all that pain and used it to help people.


Literary connection


Keep Holding On/ Avril Lavigne

You're not alone
Together we stand
I'll be by your side, you know I'll take your hand
When it gets cold
And it feels like the end
There's no place to go
You know I won't give in
No I won't give in
Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through,
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you,

There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through
.

The piece describes how people stand up for each other, and how being there for other people gives enough strength to pull through and live a normal life.

The authors point in this song is to show that once you stand up for somebody everything else doesn't matter. For example: Sderot; the people there live in fear to even go outside, When we come and volunteer our time there it helps them go on, and it shows them that they're not alone and we stand together.
The song has slow music to it with sad notes .There are repeating sentences that come to emphasize the importance of the point of the song.
As you can see from the rest of my I-faces project, this is one of the most important factors in my eyes. We need to stand up for other people even if we don't always agree with them.
This country needs to stand up for it's believes and stand as one nation – all together as one.

To hear the song go to –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B44ZYp4RFU&feature=related


Reflection


Before I started the project I thought I would not gain anything, I thought it would be another project just like any other. But somewhere in the middle I just clicked, I felt I was actually looking forward to interviewing and learning more about the project.
Now when I look back at what I have learned and what I have done, I am happy that I was able to do this project, I learned so many things I didn't know before. For example: After learning about Koby's life and his death and what could have been, I learned how to appreciate life in a different way than before.

If I had to say my favorite part of writing this project, it would probably be interviewing my brother (Eitan Gordon) because when I was interviewing him it made Koby in my eye's more human, like when he told me that Koby was really funny or that he loved pizza, it made me able to relate to him. Instead of looking at Koby like someone from above, I look at him like a real person.

I would not change one thing about this project, I love the way it turned out.



Bibliography


Information about Koby:
Gordon, Eitan, interview, 4/1/2008, Efrat.
www.kobymandell.org
Information about the foundation:
Kopinsky, Dovid, interview, 14/11/2007, Jerusalem.
www.kobymandell.org


Appendix-

Dovid Kopinsky -
1. How long have you been working here?
Full time about five years partially 6 years.
2. What do you do?
Plan the camps-the bus, the sleeping, the food, the activities when and where, and interviewing new counselors. Along with technical stuff around the office.
3. Do you enjoy working here?
Of course I do!
4. What’s the most rewarding job you do?
Seeing the smiles on the kids faces, their enjoyment at the camps,
5. Do you find anything harder to do than other things?
When I program the camps in advance and then I get complaints that I should change certain things.
6. How many different kinds of camps are there? What are they?
Well, we have three different camps a year- on Chanukah, on Pessach, and in the summer, and then they are broken up to three – boys and girls mixed, boys alone and girls alone. In that they are broken up in to age groups.
7. Do you go on the camps with them?
Yes, it’s kind of hard to get complaints and do something about it from my office.
8. What do you do while you're not working on the camps?
Well, the camps take up a lot of my time, right now we just finished with Chanukah and I’m already working on Pessach and the summer. I help organize some fund raisers.
9. How many teens do you interview to be counselors each year and how many to you turn down?
We get about 200 teens a year and we only take about 20-30, the counselors from last year could come back with no interview, so we get about 120 –130 previous counselors.
10. Do you feel bad turning away so many counselors?
No, not really. We tell them in advance that we accept a small amount of counselors, so it’s really on them.
11. How many campers do you get a year? Dose the number of them grow every year?
It’s different every camp, in the summer we get close to 500, and during the year (Chanukah and pessach) we get about about 300, yes, every year the number of campers grow.
12. Do you ever find yourself bored?
No, there is always something to do, or something to change.

Eitan-
  1. How well did you know Koby?
  2. Dose it give you any pain to talk about him?
  3. What's your best memory you have with him?
  4. What did you like the best about Koby?
  5. What made koby koby?
  6. If Koby was a twenty year old guy to do you think he would be like?
These are the basic questions – from these more came out, but I didn't write it…