In an attempt to help passengers fleeing from a suicide bomber on a bus in Tel Aviv, October 2002, Shmuel Ashbal was injured as he approached the scene. He was thrown into the air and landed dazed in the midst of the blood and gore in which one woman was killed and many others wounded.
Shmuel suffered minor physical injuries. But his head trauma left him impaired with short term memory loss, hearing difficulties, bouts of confusion and a severe, chronic case of post traumatic stress disorder. Formerly a truck driver, since his trauma he has been unable to hold down a job even though he has made many attempts at employment. Without his income and the limited financial assistance he receives from Israeli social services, his family has suffered serious economic damage. He attends both individual and group psychotherapy but continues to suffer from wide mood swings and short term memory difficulties.
His wife Orly, a trained nurse, is the family's main economic and emotional mainstay. Their son, Morel, a remarkable 15 year old, has taught himself English. But his eyesight seems to be failing and now requires special lenses for reading. Their 13 year old daughter, Rinat, is also now learning English.
We have assisted the Ashbal family economically while Orly was in nurses' training in order to advance her career and increase her wage-earning capacity. We paid down a mortgage to a more manageable level to prevent the family from being evicted from the flat in which they live. We also helped the family celebrate Morel's bar mitzvah and recently purchased a large print computer screen for him.
We will assist Shmuel in the future when he starts job training and we plan to help Rinat and Morel achieve their academic goals.