Care for Israel's Elderly in Crisis: Shula's Story

With record numbers of rockets hitting residential areas in Israel today, our teams are working non-stop to help the most vulnerable. And although we try and ensure we reach as many people as possible, it’s always important to remember that it’s not about numbers — it’s about each individual life.

Meet 83-year-old Shula Carmiel from Moshav Arugot, outside of Kiryat Malakhi in south-central Israel.

When the siren wails signaling another rocket attack on her hometown, there isn’t enough time for Shula to find shelter. Her small, single-story house does not have a safe room and the shelter is too far to reach with her walker. “I sit and pray that everything will okay,” Shula says. “I just wait for it to be over.”

For this sabra, witty and full-of-life, the latest attacks brought back memories of her childhood during the difficult years leading up to the State’s founding, when she and her sister would lie on the floor to avoid being hit by bullets flying through their windows.

Shula was drafted to fight in Israel’s War of Independence before her 16th birthday; she later married her commanding officer.

Today Shula is a member of JDC’s Supportive Community for the Elderly in Moshav Arugot, where she receives a spectrum of services that allow her to live independently. Especially during this crisis, Hezi, her Supportive Community “Father,” is a lifeline to Shula and her neighbors, keeping in constant contact with them and providing invaluable emotional and practical support.

When Shula’s neighbor recently refused to come out of a nearby bomb shelter even after the sirens stopped blaring, Hezi visited her in hopes of convincing her to return home. To reassure her, he called her daughter in Haifa who came in the middle of the night to take her mother out of rocket range.

“He’s my father now,” Shula explains, pointing to Hezi, belying her 83 years. “Anything I need he helps me with.”

For more on JDC’s response on the ground, visit

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