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Personal, family and community strengths in coping with home loss and destruction: The Gaza strip settlers' example

Prof. Dorit Roer-Strier

During the lsraeli disengagement from the Gaza strip in August 2005, about 1.800 Jewish families were obliged to leave, mostly against their will, their personal and social life spheres. The families had to cope with significant simultaneous losses: the destruction of their homes; the loss of the geographic and historical space of their families and communities; the loss of employment and income; the loss of the community network; the loss of social legitimacy, trust in and feeling of belongingness to the lsraeli state and its institutions. Beside the difficulties associated with the losses, we found among the settlers examples of considerable resilience and, in some cases, occurrences of posttraumatic growth. While most of the scholars dealing with the impact of war and home demolition on families focus on pathology and trauma, they largely ignore the coping aspects and strengths individuals, families, and communities develop whilst undergoing these traumata.

Recorded: October 2009, Dubrovnik - Cavtat, Croatia.
Coping & Resilience International Conference

Organiser: The Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice

Dorit Roer-Strier
Dorit   Roer-Strier
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Prof. Dorit Roer-Strier

Professor Dorit Roer- Strier currently heads the masters program at the school of social work and social welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She got her PH.d in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a visitor scholar at the University of Calgary, Canada and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA. Professor Roer-Strier specializes in early childhood and family studies in the area of cross cultural psychology. Her research and publications have focused on three complementary domains relevant to the study of families and children in changing cultural contexts: a) Cross-cultural differences in the socialization of children (by parents and professionals), with applications to interventions and theory; b) Individuals and families coping with change in the context of cultural encounters, particularly immigration, religious change and political conflict and c) Application of innovative qualitative research to the cultivation of cultural awareness and to the development of tools for culturally-sensitive training and interventions.
In collaboration with Dr. Nadera Shalhoub Keborkian (Hebrew University), Professor Roer-Strier and 10 Jewish and Palestinian doctoral and masters students to study the effects of the loss of the home resulting from house demolition due to political policies and war. The groups studied are 1) Palestinian children and parents whose homes were demolished in East Jerusalem, 2) Jewish children and parents whose homes were demolished during the “disengagement” from Gaza strip.3) Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel in the north who lost their homes during the Lebanon war and 4) Bedouin families in the "Non Recognized" villages in the South.
In all studies, resilience agency and strengths of children and parents are studied in addition to the effects of the trauma on individuals and families.

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