An initiative to support Israeli war widows and siblings of fallen soldiers has been attracting support in Australia.
Sheva Balkany, an Australian living in New York, has been raising funds for her not-for-profit organisation, B’Lev V’Kavod (giving with love and dignity).
She spoke at two synagogues and a private home event in Melbourne.
Her primary focus is organising retreats in central Israel for war widows and siblings of fallen soldiers.
The first one will be held in February.
“We will have various [types] of healing like art therapy, sound therapy, healing movement and animal therapy so that they can find and connect with something that might be instrumental in helping them in their struggle with the grief,” Balkany said.
The retreats are meticulously planned, from the choice of a beautiful villa with a heated pool and jacuzzi to individual rooms for privacy, crafted to provide a supportive environment for the participants.
Her efforts extend beyond the retreats and began with delivering essential supplies directly to soldiers on the front lines.
“I have a family member in a counterterrorism team, they’re the ones that go into hospitals and rescue hostages. And I put together a shipment for them, and after I did that, I decided I would go to Israel to volunteer,” Balkany said.
In November she went to Israel to volunteer on farms and travelled to the Gaza border to help prepare food for the soldiers taking part in the conflict.
She says she is in no way in competition with the work being done by major organisations such as the UIA or JNF, saying she is simply a one-person show.
“For example, I’m going to Israel bringing a bunch of supplies for soldiers and people in my neighbourhood want to do that, but can’t. The soldiers need thermal shirts and socks, shaving kits and so on – I’m getting these lists from a friend who’s in army intelligence and he tells me exactly what they need,” Balkany said.
Donations can be made to B’Lev V’Kavod here: withheartandhonor.org