Yossi Frenkel, pictured above (right) has been an active Zaka volunteer for over 13 years. Most people find this sort of work gruesome and repelling, but not Yossi. He saw the opportunity to consistently distribute kindness that could never be repaid. That's real chesed... true giving," explains Yossi.
It does, however, expose him continually to trauma. Yossi manages the trauma by compartmentalizing the experience. "When I receive a call, I'm no longer Yossi. I'm Zaka until I'm back home."
"But some calls are easier to detach from than others. we are, after all, human beings with emotions, and compounded exposure to evil, destruction and death takes its toll."
For help detaching emotionally and moving past each experience, Yossi phones his mother after every single Zaka mission to review the entire incident, even if it's in the middle of the night. "It gets the experience, the horror, the images - away from me." He encourages all the other Zaka volunteers to go to the counselors and debriefings, but Yossi's mother is the most effective for him.
The other ingredient that keeps Yossi grounded is focusing on the positive in life. Instead of "there was a terrorist attack", he reframes it as "the terrorist is no longer on the street - no longer a threat." Yossi delves into his outlook further, "You can take ANY incident and find strength in it. I draw strength from this rather than allowing it to drain strength from me."
It also helps that Yossi owns a restaurant. "When I return to the restaurant from a Zaka call, people are having fun and living life." This scene draws Yossi out of the world of Zaka and back to the everyday world - underwriting his positive transition back from Zaka to Yossi.
Yossi would never dream of giving up his volunteering. "II appreciate life more because of my work in Zaka, and my appreciation of life motivates my work for Zaka."