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.

 

Neve Hanna young leadership helps families in need!

Sachi Activities, our Sayeret Chesed Yechudit, the teenager welfare club helps families in need throughout Kiryat Gat.

Teenagers of Neve Hanna participate in this group, committing to activities and setting examples of young leadership activism. The aim of the group is:

  • Instill social values in the participants, tolerance, mutual respect, giving and sharing, friendship and the power people have, if they stick together and act as a group.
  • Do good deeds for others, especially people in need.
  • For the children of Neve Hanna, themselves defined as in-need, that means: To learn what it means to be on the other side: Not receiving, but giving.

From the therapeutic point of view, participation in the Sachi group at Neve Hanna means, to help the teenagers grow in a healthy way and to strengthen their self-esteem.

The group of about 15 teenagers currently involved in Sachi meets twice a week.  Once a week in order to buy groceries for families in-need in Kiryat Gat. 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.

Path to Bread

The Path to Bread is a road to success!

With its third year of “The Path to Bread” comes huge success.  We have seen the static behavioral pattern change and improve between the children and their parents.

Three years ago, Neve Hanna Children’s Home developed a unique program designed as a baking workshop for children and parents aiming at the following aspects:

  • Improving the interaction as well as the communication between child and parent and thereby improving their relationship in general.
  • Boosting self-esteem of children and their parents by positive experiences and literally touching success-our bread looks perfect, it tastes wonderful, that is the product our hands and cooperation.
  • Discovering hidden talents and excel.
  • Learning to live up to responsibilities.
  • Experiencing teamwork and learn to fulfill team obligations.
  • Learning that persistency pays off.
  • Finding that certain skills one learns can be converted to other fields and positively influence different aspects of daily life.

This enriching therapeutic program helps the parent and child begin dialogue, thus allowing them to understand one another better. The Path to Bread contributes a great deal not only to a better healthier relationship between parent and child, but also to the healthy growth of the child.  Currently we have three such groups, in which children residing at Neve Hanna as well as children visiting the daycare centers participate.

Neve Hanna Children’s Home — Changing Children’s Lives!

Happy Purim 2018

Happy Purim!

THE CHILDREN OF NEVE HANNA WISH YOU A HAPPY PURIM!

Your generous gift will:

Help us complete the renovations of the kitchens and dining rooms in the children’s living areas.

Continue to fund our therapeutic gardens and petting zoo.

Support our innovative programs including the “Path to Bread” initiative at our bakery.

Build a darkroom for our new photo workshop.

Help Israeli children from troubled families heal and thrive.

Spread the joy by making a donation today!  Go to: www.afnevehanna.org 

Thank you for your love and support!  Together Changing Children’s Lives! 

 

Bucket List Travel Destination Fulfilled: A Visit to Neve Hanna in Kiryat Gat, Israel By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields Executive Director, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism

Coby and JanetMany people have different places on their bucket list to visit when travelling to Israel, and mine has always been Neve Hanna in Kiryat Gat, established in 1973 under the dynamic leadership of Hanni Ullman, a veteran Israeli educator and recipient of the prestigious President’s Award for Volunteerism. Neve Hanna is named for Hanna Kaplan, a Holocaust survivor who bequeathed money to Hanni to create a family-style home for children in distress. During our recent trip to Israel for Coby Dov’s Bar Mitzvah, I was privileged to mark one of those bucket list destinations off my list – and it will definitely be a repeated place to visit in the future! Since I was a teenager, I have always wanted to visit Neve Hanna, because my Rabbi, Rabbi Benjamin Z. Kreitman, one of the greatest influences in my life, always described it as a magical place that transformed people’s lives and recognized each individual’s needs and challenges. The pictures he showed me were of children with smiling faces, clearly loving their current home. I knew that this would be a perfect place to visit on our Coby Dov Bar Mitzvah mission! Rabbi Kreitman, the Founding President of American Friends of Neve Hanna, never stopped talking about the children who lived at Neve Hanna, who were removed from their homes due to physical and psychological violence, neglect, and sexual abuse, and now live in family-like units grouped according to age. On our recent visit, we were able to see one of the four family-like units, but the approximately 80 children who live there, between the ages of 6 to 18, were all in school. I can say, their rooms were incredibly neat! After school, an additional 45 children come to Neve Hanna for their day care programs and return home every night. One of these programs is a joint Jewish-Bedouin program.

Coby Dov Bar MitzvahRabbi Kreitman praised Neve Hanna for being a warm, loving home environment for the children, which offers support, assistance, guidance and care. During our recent visit, this warmth was definitely conveyed – from the minute we stepped off our tour bus, to the Facebook comments I receive from Rabbi Liron Levy, the rabbi at Neve Hanna, to the delicious cookies we received from their in-house bakery. The in-house bakery, Yeladudes Bakery, teaches children the values of work and imparts to them useful life skills, such as ethics and business management. The children at Neve Hanna learn the art of baking and marketing delicious specialty breads, cakes, and cookies, which are in demand in the dining rooms of Israeli corporations, sold in malls, and served on El Al flights. At Neve Hanna, this is just one way that children are able to grow up to become self-confident and independent adolescents and young adults. Neve Hanna provides group programs and therapies, with the goal of rehabilitating severely traumatized children, empowering them and promoting their educational and social development, while imparting to them the tools to build successful, independent, self-sufficient future lives. All of them receive individual counseling, including art, dance, and animal therapy. Many of the teenagers help run their family units and take responsibility for setting goals and budgets, even earning and saving money for activities like concerts, movies, and trips.

Antje, Janet, Rabbi Wolintz and Rabbi LevyNeve Hanna is recognized under the Masorti Movement as a Kehilla: a loving home in the Jewish Community. Kehilla means community, and that is exactly what Neve Hanna is: a warm community that inspires growth. The children at Neve Hanna are taught Jewish values. They say their prayers before and after meals, join the Shabbat and holiday services, learn about Jewish heritage and tradition, and each one celebrates their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Rabbi Liron Levy, a graduate of the Schechter Institutes, is employed at Neve Hanna, and prepares the children for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration, an important event with many guests who join the children’s celebration. While we were at Neve Hanna, one of the highlights of our trip was a visit to the petting zoo, where twelve of us in my group got to hold some of the animals – the brave amongst my group! But one activity that all twelve of us participated in, besides the delicious lunch Neve Hanna provided, was a lesson taught by Rabbi Liron Levy about what parts of the body are used to follow the words conveyed in the first paragraph of the Shema. Everyone participated in this lesson and enjoyed their learning. The greatest part of the lesson was having the current co-Presidents of American Friends of Neve Hanna, our own Women’s League past International President Janet Tobin and her husband, Irwin Tobin, join us for the lesson, a special presentation Rabbi Levy made to Coby, our candy-throwing to Coby, and our delicious lunch. Rabbi Kreitman, of blessed memory, was right – Neve Hanna is a magical place. The animals exude love the minute you see them, and the people you meet become family immediately. The food and bakery pastries are delicious, and the values of God, Torah, Israel, are taught. Lives are transformed daily, and mitzvot are lived daily, just by the very fact that such an amazing place as Neve Hanna exists.

Wolintz GroupNeve Hanna is a place that the entire Conservative/Masorti Movement should take great pride in, and we, as part of WLCJ, should, as well, with Janet Tobin as the co-President of American Friends of Neve Hanna. Make sure you arrange a trip to Neve Hanna in Kiryat Gat on your next trip to Israel!

The Petting Zoo

Petting Zoo

For Neve Hanna children, this is much more than a place where they can watch, feed and pet the animals.  It is the place where they have animal-assisted therapy. During therapy, animal-assisted therapists watch children interact with the animals and interpret their behavioral patterns. Through the interaction between the animal and the child a vast variety of issues is addressed without the need for verbal expression.

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Changing Children’s Lives through Music Education

Sunday, April 29, 2018, members and supporters of American Friends of Neve Hanna gathered together at Abigael’s in New York in love and support of the Neve Hanna Children’s Home.

The evening’s mission was to raise funds and bring awareness to the new Music Education program at Neve Hanna.  In lieu of our staff member, Lisa Pollack’s 50th birthday and the 45th anniversary of the Neve Hanna Children’s Home, we kindly asked for donations made to the music program.

Our guest speaker, guitarist, Tony Romano discussed the importance, beauty, value and benefits of music therapy education.  He performed several songs following the discussion.

Neve Hanna is changing children’s lives through music and you can too by donating at https://www.afnevehanna.org/donate

 

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