Eleven years ago, on the last night of Hanukkah, David Rubin and his son were attacked by terrorists and injured on the highway outside of their hometown of Shiloh in the Biblical heartland of Israel.
Out of that horrific terrorist attack emerged the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, which heals the trauma of young terror victims and rebuilds the Biblical heartland of Israel through the children.
“That is a blessing that I am thankful for,” said Rubin during an interview with Breaking Israel News, “but even blessings need to be nurtured, as a small child needs to be nurtured into a physically and emotionally healthy adult. That is our main challenge as we continue to grow.”
The Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund currently maintains a wonderful therapeutic and educational campus with two main regional schools, preschools, and a formal therapy center in the heart of Shiloh. The center serves almost 2,000 children from Shiloh and the surrounding area daily. “The main campus has our acclaimed petting zoo and music center, and the therapeutic horseback riding farm is just across the valley,” Rubin added.
The organization also maintains projects in satellite communities as well, which serve an additional 1,000 children. But for all of that, the children of Samaria need more help than the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund can currently give.
“The problem is that we are running out of space,” Rubin explained to Breaking Israel News. “The therapy center is seriously overcrowded and on some days there are no available rooms for our psychologist or social worker to meet with a parent or teacher as part of the critical screening process or the necessary evaluation process.”
Rubin also revealed that the due to the success of the programs, the schools, which are in part maintained by the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, need to add more space, as the demand is outweighing the available classroom space.
“Yes, it is a blessing, but the issue of space has become an extremely difficult problem, requiring a real long-term solution,” he commented.
The details are still a work in progress but the plan in short is two-fold: to build a third floor for the therapy center in the near future and to build a second therapeutic and educational campus, which would house the boys’ elementary-intermediate school, as well as a new boys’ high school.
In such a situation, the girls’ elementary-intermediate school would receive the entire existing campus, thereby allowing students of both genders to have adequate space.
When asked why particularly the boys high school will be receiving a new campus in the coming years, Rubin explained to Breaking Israel News: “In the years since the Jewish communities of Samaria were reestablished, the difficult geographic realities have forced most of the teenage boys in Shiloh to travel to dormitory schools, and often at great distances.”
He added, “While this often encourages some positive aspects of independence, it also creates a painful separation between the boys and their parents at a time when they need that connection more than ever. It is also a serious security risk, at a time of increasing dangers on the roads. This will be a school that caters to the needs of all children who live in the Shiloh Township, with a special focus on the family as the basis for a strong education.”
Rubin also noted that building up the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund will be good for the local economy as well as the region’s youth. “These projects will create the momentum for tremendous growth in the Shiloh Township and beyond, as they are being built upon our proven record of success in supporting a vast array of therapeutic, educational, and recreational programming for the children of the Biblical heartland,” he told Breaking Israel News.
“Despite the recent upsurge in terrorism there is much that we as individuals can do to change the facts on the ground,” Rubin said optimistically. “Because it is at the grassroots where the most enduring change happens.”
He said that in the face of terror, “Those of us who have suffered from the terrorists’ violence and hatred will not be intimidated.”
Rubin finished on a positive message. “We will not return such hatred. My response [to hatred, and to the attack I suffered] has been, and will continue to be positive and uplifting, to build for the future of Israel with love, kindness, and determination through the children.”