Neve Hanna, AEPi and SACHI making a difference in the community!

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AEPi

KIRYAT GAT, ISRAEL, September 2019 – As part of the Rosh HaShana Mitzvah, members of AEPi, AFNH patrons, Heddy Belman and husband, Michael, together with the staff and young leadership at Neve Hanna Children’s Home, participated in the SACHI Program. Together they helped make a difference for dozens of needy families.

k640_whatsapp-image-2019-10-02-at-20.17.19-1-e1570372591908.jpgAs part of the SACHI Program, participants help supply groceries to families in need.  They take care of all the logistics and the planning, the purchase, the packing of the parcels with basic food supplies as well as the distribution. Over major holidays, like Rosh HaShana and Passover, they begin a much bigger campaign, encouraging participation of the other children, as well as the staff of Neve Hanna.  Through donations and packing for such holidays, they supply about 120 families.

SACHI (Sayeret Chesed Yechudit – Teenage Welfare Club) began at Neve Hanna Children’s Home in Kiryat Gat, thanks to the initiative of a staff member.  SACHI later expanded and became a nationwide youth movement with the founding branch at Neve Hanna.

Neve Hanna, AEPi and SACHI together changing many lives!  Go to http://www.afnevehanna.org and learn more about all the remarkable programs and projects we continue to accomplish!

Bat Mitzvah Experience Shared

Kiryat Gat, Israel, July 2019 – Co-Presidents, Janet and Irwin Tobin, spent an incredible day with Rabbi Liron Levy and our four Bat Mitzvah girls, Diana, Inbal, Tair, Oren and May, the Israeli volunteer, who was also Bat Mitzved.  They chatted all morning and the girls spoke freely about their families, what it means to become a Bat Mitzvah and their future dreams and the wonderful year they completed studying with Rabbi Liron.

Their Bat Mitzvah discussions centered around how they could remain a child while start taking on responsibilities of adulthood. Rabbi Liron stressed that they should choose a mission most important to them and incorporate it into their lives, adding more responsibilities within time.

The girls started with awareness and caring for others– being especially conscious, making sure that they treat their flat mates and each other respectfully. This expanded to include others that are different from themselves to better understand other perspectives. They are being attentive to a young man, with special needs, that was hired to work at the Petting Zoo and the in-house bakery. They expanded their horizons by visiting a Druze community and met Israelis that are not Jews. They also interacted with a group of blind people and were astounded to learn how well they function with everyday life.

The girls enjoyed talking and telling Janet and Irwin that if they put their hearts along with much effort and education, they could achieve their dreams. One girl wants to become a Veterinarian. She loves working with the animals and now that she became a Bat Mitzvah, she is permitted to work at the Petting Zoo. Another wants to be a doctor, another a kindergarten teacher and a soccer player. They included Janet and Irwin in the discussions, wanting to know how they met and all about their children, grand and great-grandchildren.

Upon completion of their year of study, they excitedly recapped many celebrations – parties and trips. Last February, a trip to Mt. Hermon, where they saw snow for the first time and even enjoyed one of the simplest pleasures, making and eating snowcones with juice. Followed with dinner at a Rosh Pina restaurant ordering whatever their hearts desired. In July, the finale, a trip to Eliat to swim with the dolphins.

For their Bat Mitzvah gift to Neve Hanna, the girls requested making ceramic clocks for each of the flats. This was inspired by their love of making mezuzahs (Hiddur Mitzvah Project) last year.

The girls requested that Janet and Irwin attend the Bat Mitzvah rehearsal, for the ceremony, that took place July 11 at the Egalitarian section of the Kotel. They also practiced their song and dance that they will preform at their Bat Mitzvah luncheon party.

The day Janet and Irwin spent with these very special Bat Mitzvah girls was one of the best days they ever had on a visit to Neve Hannah – just tops. Their expressions of joy and excitement, for the present and future, is an experience Janet and Irwin will never forget and continue to talk about way into the future.

Cameron Fields, Young Leadership Chair

When Cameron Fields was given the opportunity to intern this summer at American Friends of Neve Hanna (AFNH), as our Young Leadership Chair, she practically jumped at the offer.  Giving these children, from disadvantaged homes, a stable home where they are loved, given proper nutrition, work experience and lifelong friendships is something truly special.  Having this opportunity to spread awareness about Neve Hanna and the amazing things they do, was something very exciting and important to Cameron.

As the Young Leadership Chair, Cameron’s main goal is to inform her family, friends and community about what Neve Hanna does, and the important impact they make on children’s lives. Cameron raises awareness about Neve Hanna through social media and teaches at USY (United Synagogue Youth) convention study sessions.  She has been getting the word out to her community, that everyone should become more involved and support the Neve Hanna family.

In January 2019, Cameron had the remarkable opportunity to visit the Neve Hanna Children’s Home with her family.

Cameron writes:

The minute our bus pulled up to Neve Hanna’s campus, I could feel the love that Neve Hanna radiated. From visiting the Petting Zoo, attending a class with Rabba Liron Levy, followed by a delicious lunch, I began to discover what Neve Hanna was all about.  We ended our day by playing a family basketball game and we all had a blast.

Cameron is an active member of USY and has been involved in Kadima (USY’s program for pre-teens). She has served on the Freshman Leadership Committee and the Religion Education Regional Board.  For the past four summers, Cameron spent a month at Ramah in the Rockies.  At camp, she was a member of the Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute (JOLI), where she was Wilderness First Aid certified and was able to lead study sessions and be a CIT (Counselor in Training).

American Friends of Neve Hanna is pleased and proud to have Cameron Fields a part of the Neve Hanna family.  Thank you Cameron for all you do. Together, we are changing children’s lives.

Go to http://www.afnevehanna.org to learn more about all the remarkable programs and projects we continue to accomplish.

SACHI Program: Nationwide Youth Movement

SACHI (Sayeret Chesed Yechudit – Teenage Welfare Club) began at Neve Hanna Children’s Home in Kiryat Gat, thanks to the initiative of a staff member.  SACHI later expanded and became a nationwide youth movement with the founding branch at Neve Hanna.  At the AIPAC Policy Conference last March, the SACHI Program was featured as a new innovative program at the beginning of one of the plenary sessions.

Teenagers from the age of 13 years on, can join SACHI, operating according to the motto:  The best thing in the world is to do good deeds for others.  The teenagers of Neve Hanna, who are usually at the receiving side, are learning about the other side—giving.

Teenagers joining, have to commit to social and welfare activities, setting examples of social activism, tolerance, mutual respect, giving and sharing as well as friendship.  Through the SACHI activities, the teens from disadvantaged backgrounds, learn more about young leadership qualities.

Currently, 15 Neve Hanna teens are involved in SACHI.  The participants meet twice weekly for educational and social purposes, as well as for fun activities intended to strengthen group dynamics.  What began with seven teens in Kiryat Gat, now encompasses approximately 400 teenagers in 15 clubs throughout several cities in Israel.

As part of the SACHI program, the participants help supply approximately a dozen needy families in Kiryat Gat, with groceries.  They take care of all the logistics and the planning, the purchase, the packing of the parcels with basic food supplies as well as the distribution. Over major holidays, like Rosh HaShana and Passover, they begin a much bigger campaign, encouraging participation of the other children, as well as the staff of Neve Hanna.  Through donations and packing for such holidays, they supply about 120 families in need.

SACHI youth also help people with disabilities, the elderly, the downtrodden and Holocaust survivors with shopping, chores and home repairs. They visit hospitals and nursing homes.

Neve Hanna Children’s Home is helping make a difference in the lives of others, the surrounding community and changing the world.  Go to http://www.afnevehanna.org to learn more about all our remarkable programs and projects. You too can be a part of the movement.

My Visit at Neve Hanna

 

By Cameron Fields

January 20, 2019, I had the opportunity and privilege to be able to visit Neve Hanna, in Kiryat Gat. The minute our bus pulled up to Neve Hanna’s campus, I could feel the love that Neve Hanna radiated. As I stepped off the bus and looked around, I could see why it feels like home for so many children. Neve Hanna made intimidating, unwelcoming structures, which could have been gloomy and scary, into a place with an incredible aura of welcoming.  The Neve Hanna campus is very beautiful, with flowers blooming everywhere, and beautiful works of art. The atmosphere immediately felt warm and IMG_3145welcoming, giving you a giant hug of security, like Neve Hanna does for so many Israeli children.

We first headed to the petting zoo, which I absolutely loved. I love animals of all kinds and being around the animals and being able to interact with them, was so much fun. I got to hold one of the lizards, and fed the baby goat, who was undeniably adorable. I also got to see the pony who was very cute, and I fell in love with the rabbits. I kept on thinking how great it was that children living on the campus that Neve Hanna provides for them, have the opportunity to take care, and love these animals, and make kesharim, connections, with other works of God.

Next, we walked to the synagogue at Neve Hanna, where Rabbi Liron Levy taught us about the VeAhavta paragraph of the Shema. We broke down the words of the Shema, to see what body parts the prayer was referring to. It was a truly educational experience that I don’t think I will ever forget. After the teaching, we moved into lunch.  We had a delicious meal filled with a lot of high protein foods, that helped contribute to a great diet. Neve Hanna provides their children with great food and meals, so that they learn to eat and live a healthy lifestyle.

Lastly, we ended our tour, by visiting the bakery, where we had heard so much about the amazing opportunity this bakery provides for the children at Neve Hanna. We learned all about how the children work at the bakery and learn to earn and save money. The bakery was extremely interesting to hear about, and they produced very tasty treats. I actually brought home some babka for my friends at home, and they could not stop talking about how delicious it was! We then ended our day playing on Neve Hanna’s huge basketball court, where I played a very fun and exciting basketball game with my cousins, brothers, dad, and aunt.

When our tour guide told us it was time to get on the bus to head to our next location on the trip, I honestly did not want to leave. I loved being at Neve Hanna, and their campus is one of the img_3322-1.jpgmost beautiful places I’ve ever been to.  Learning about the amount of opportunities and skills that Neve Hanna provides for these children is truly heartwarming. I think that what Neve Hanna is doing is something spectacular. Giving these children a home where they are loved, given proper nutrition, work experience, and lifelong friendships is something truly special. Neve Hanna will always have a special place in my heart, and I fell in love with everything this organization does for Israeli children. I had an amazing time visiting Neve Hanna, and I cannot wait to visit there again soon! 

 

 

 

Neve Hanna Launches The Torah Project!

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New York, May 28, 2019 – American Friends of Neve Hanna (AFNH), the non-profit organization for the Neve Hanna Children’s Home in Israel, launches The Torah Project, an exciting two year project involving a world wide fundraising campaign and interactive educational workshops for the children.  Rabbi Liron Levy of Neve Hanna and Sofer Rabbi Hanna Klabanksy will be leading the workshops at the Neve Hanna Children’s Home, working with the children and staff, on the writing of a Sephardic Torah scroll for the children of Neve Hanna.

The beauty of this project is that everyone can participate.  There is something for everyone.  You can join by sponsoring letters, words, names, or various segments of the text.   The special significance of writing a Torah, is that every ot (letter), milah (word), pasuk (verse), parashah (weekly portion), sefer (book), and shem (name) in the Torah will be sponsored by the friends of the Children of Neve Hanna.  The children will proudly be able to study, read from and carry their own Sefer Torah.  The finished Sefer Torah will be used for the first time at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremony at the Egalitarian section of the Western Wall, Israel, June 2021.  All donors and sponsors will be invited to celebrate a Siyum HaTorah.

Neve Hanna hopes that each and everyone will participate in this joyous and monumental project and gift of love that is handed down from our ancestors as a means of preserving our precious tradition.  The Torah will be American Friends of Neve Hanna’s gift of love, enabling each of us to transmit our precious heritage to the children.

Neve Hanna Children’s Home is changing children’s lives.  You can too by being a part of the Torah Project.  To learn more about this remarkable project and to participate in this unique opportunity, go to http://www.afnevehanna.org/torah-project.

 

 

 

Celebrate Jewish Heritage Month

Visit a Jewish museum or a site of historical Jewish interest. Visit a Jewish museum, a Holocaust memorial museum, New York City’s Tenement Museum…the list goes on, and nearly all of these museums offer online experiences and exhibits, too. You can also visit an historic synagogue for a look at your local Jewish history.

Eat something Jewish. Whip up your bubbe’s favorite recipe! Not a big cook? Have lunch at your local Jewish delicatessen. What’s more Jewish-American than corned beef on rye and don’t forget the pickle!

Read something Jewish. Whether you choose a book about religion, about the Jewish American experience, or just something written by an American Jew, there’s plenty to choose from.

Research your family’s history. Try to determine when the first members of your family immigrated to America, then create a family tree for future family members to cherish. Take it a step further by recording an interview with your oldest living relatives to create a digital history of your family’s Jewish history.

Watch something Jewish. Choose a film about the Jewish-American experience, or tune into something by Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, J.J. Abrams, or another favorite Jewish director.

Raise your voice, Jewishly. As Jews in a democratic society, we have the privilege and the responsibility to make our voices and views heard on ethical and moral matters. Get involved in Jewish social justice work on a national scale.

Become a member of a synagogue. What better way to show your commitment to American Judaism than by joining a congregation?

Support your favorite Jewish organization. Do your part to further and strengthen the work of the Jewish people by making a one-time or recurring contribution to a Jewish nonprofit that’s near to your heart.  May we recommend Neve Hanna Children’s Home at http://www.afnevehanna.org  (hint, hint)  

How are you, your family and friends celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month? Let us know in the comments below.