Our last newsletter reached you around Chanukah, later than usual, because we wanted to report about the special activities, which took place last fall. Nevertheless, we want to go back to last fall and share some additional events that took place during that time frame.
Just a few weeks ago, the third election for the Knesset took place. Before the second election, which was held in September 2019, the NEVE HANNA children actively experienced what a lively democracy means. This experience gave the children an understanding when they voted in the Children’s Committee. This was a very special process, where each foster family sent its representatives into the elections. Before voting, each child had the chance to present themselves before the entire community and argue their cases, state what is important to them, and why they will be a good representative working in the Children´s Committee. It was an exciting process and now the Children´s Committee is actively participating in the decision making of certain matters directly touching the lives of the children and teenagers at NEVE HANNA.
Shortly after the holiday season, NEVE HANNA had not only the privilege to celebrate yet another special event, but a unique, one-of-a-kind occasion – the festive opening event of our Torah Scroll writing project, in which all the children are involved. This exceptional educational project, in the spirit of the Masorti Movement, is supported by you, our American Friends. Over the next one to two years, thanks to your generous support, our children are able to learn many aspects about the Torah scribe process.
Currently, NEVE HANNA, is home to 75 children, residing at the children´s home in 6 foster family groups. There are a few more boys than girls, all between 8 to 17/18 years of age, with the majority being 10 years and older. In addition, Neve Hanna welcomes 43 children into its daycare program, in the afternoons straight from school, Sunday through Thursday. They stay until after supper. These children are younger, ranging between 5 to 11/12 years. They attend three different daycare-groups.
Recently, NEVE HANNA had its traditional Purim party, but as much as we tried to keep traditions, there was a break of traditions due to the current Corona virus situation. For the first time in its history, NEVE HANNA could not open its gates to visitors. Former volunteers and other friends of the children´s home from abroad had to leave due to orders of the relevant ministry, others could not catch any more flights due to home quarantine orders. Furthermore, NEVE HANNA was restricted to having only staff and members from the community, who frequent the children´s home. Due to these orders, we were heartbroken to celebrate without them and other people, dear to us. The co-presidents of the American Friends of NEVE HANNA, Janet and Irwin Tobin, were in the country and wanted, once more, to celebrate together with us, but were restricted to home quarantine. The same was right for the long-term director and current president of NEVE HANNA, David (Dudu) Weger. In addition, a few days before our Purim celebration, we had to part from our long-time board member Rachel (Rali) Löwenthal z”l, who accompanied NEVE HANNA on the wish of its founder Hanni Ullmann for almost two decades.
On Purim, we happily celebrated, for the sake of our children, who were for weeks already excited to dress-up. They had been practicing their performances and preparing, with a lot of effort and dedication, the different activity stations (games, restaurant, coffee shop etc.) We celebrated and nevertheless had a wonderful party. Now, we are grateful that we could do that at all.
By the hour, as the challenging news on the Corona virus comes in, we currently look at weeks where we have to be very strong for our children to guide them through these difficult times and to make sure they will stay safe.
We do not know, what the next days will bring, but we know, we have you as our friends at our side and therefore extend this time not only the best wishes for the up-coming Passover time, but our deepest wishes for your health and safety.
Sincerely, Chag Sameach VeKasher,
David (Dudu) Weger, President
Itzik Bohadana, Director
Chaim Appel, Member of the Board