Today we would like to open up with a story. A story about Omer.
She was always a very giving person. She had a gift in the way she touched people, in a simple and easy way. Besides her good deeds, Omer’s trademark was her tattoo, which reflected on her character. The tattoo was of a small butterfly and it said “butterflies are forever…”, which represents the butterfly effect one could create by doing good deeds.
When she was almost 21 years old, like every released Israeli soldier, Omer went on her big post-army trip to the far east – to Nepal. Even during that trip, Omer showed her compassion and giving to other people, when she gave her only pair of pants to the woman sitting next to her on the flight, when she saw a Nepalese baby crying in the middle of the road and just had to stop her hike until she calmed him down, and when she gave away a warm jacket to a complete stranger that was caught in a snow storm.
Where ever Omer went – she spread her love and spirit of giving.
Midway through her trip, on her way to the next destination, Omer’s bus fell off a cliff, thus killing her instantly. Obviously, her death was a tragic lost to her family and friends, but also to hundreds of other people who decided to commemorate her by drawing different pictures of butterflies all around the world. These drawings spread out like a butterfly effect, just like the way Omer wanted to spread her good deeds to the world.
Omer’s family was inspired by the way so many people chose to commemorate her, and decided to continue spreading her way of giving.
They opened a fund named “Omer’s Butterflies”. They made red cause bracelets that say “butterflies are forever”, like Omer’s tattoo. The concept is like paying it forward, like the butterfly effect. If you do a good deed for someone, you give that person the bracelet so that they could pass it to next person, once they do a good deed too. Having that bracelet on your hand will remind you that you always have to try to be a better person. If you still have that bracelet on your wrist, you have to keep thinking – who will be the next person to receive a bracelet.
Omer’s family was able to rise above a very difficult lose in their lives. They did it by spreading Omer’s legacy, and by encouraging volunteering, giving and goodwill.
We told you one story today, which we found incredible. What’s even more incredible, is that there are many more different stories like that, that we could have told.
It seems like so many people in Israel have that ability to take the painful experiences that life in Israel throws at you, and turn them into something good for someone else.
It continues to be one of the most amazing things about Israeli society, and it is the reason why we teach stories like that in our Youth Movements in Israel, and why we chose to talk about Omer’s story today.