With 10 seafront locations across the country, HaGal Sheli uses surfing as an educational and therapy tool to gain practical life skills to overcome life’s challenges. We serve over 100 municipalities, mentor over 3,500 at-risk teens annually, and have more than 10,500 graduates so far.

I have a master’s in administration and leadership in education from Tel Aviv University and a bachelor’s in democratic education from Seminar Kibbutzim College. I am a certified open-water lifeguard and surfing instructor with over 15 years of experience. I am happily married, father to a young boy, living with my family in Jaffa.

I feel blessed to have the ability and opportunity to create and lead HaGal Sheli together with my cofounder, Omer Tulchinsky, and our unique board and partners. For the past decade, we have proven that an honest change is possible. We witnessed the positive changes the educational and therapeutic process evoked. I experienced myself how surfing can serve as a way of living, and was always driven by the desire to share the sea’s healing qualities.

When the war broke out, HaGal Sheli took immediate action in the first week, providing care for over 1,000 evacuees from most affected communities north and south, as well as released hostages, veterans and Supernova Festival survivors.

I believe that we all have the responsibility to do something. It starts with the deep understanding that we are in this together and leads to actions. The need is huge and we need everyone onboard — volunteering, donating, or any other idea that might be beneficial.

“I was always driven by the desire to share the sea’s healing qualities.”

I believe that nowadays we stand as an anchor of home — regaining trust, forming connections, and creating hope that is so much needed nowadays. In times like this, we must act. In HaGal Sheli we assess constantly and keep getting better every day to make sure that we are doing the very best we can.

Every child who lived through this brutal attack deserves a chance to heal. I’m motivated by looking into their eyes, every single day.

The biggest challenge that we are facing is funding. We have locations all across Israel and we are building more centers along the coastline. We hope to be able to feel safe again and make sure that we are doing the very best we can to achieve that.

I wish that we will all learn from this tragic event, and make sure that it will never happen again.

Originally posted at israel21c.org