Bnei Akiva teenage volunteers visit Afula

Twenty-two members of Bnei Akiva youth movement spent two weeks in Afula, northern Israel, volunteering at Emunah’s Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre, a home for disadvantaged children. Their visit heralds the third year that Bnei Akiva, the UK’s largest Jewish youth movement, has run its Kaytana scheme at the Emunah children’s home, showing first-time Madrichim (leaders) another side to life in Israel.

The participants, who are aged 16 or 17, were chosen from over 100 applicants from around the country and those taking part come from Hendon, Finchley, Edgware, Stanmore and Borehamwood, as well as from Manchester and Leeds. Living on campus at Emunah’s Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre,  they befriended the young people and helped staff with activities and outings.

At a briefing before they left the UK the group of volunteers were addressed by British Emunah representative Mindy Wiesenberg.  She said: “Bnei Akiva is a wonderful organisation and I am proud of you for giving up two weeks of your time to help children who come from very different backgrounds to your own.  These children cannot live in their own homes because the situation is too difficult:  either they are dysfunctional or they have been emotionally or physically abused. Some have parents who are addicted to drugs or are in prison, while others have no parents at all.

“We also look after those with special needs, and have activities and therapies that enable all of the children to enjoy as normal a life as possible.  There is basketball and sport; an art room, music therapy and a petting zoo, and we take them swimming. Over 100 children live at the home and a further 100 attend daily programmes.

Mrs Wiesenberg  went onto explain that Emunah is one of the largest social welfare organisations in Israel and that the charity British Emunah helps to fund 36 of the 200 projects and services. She added: “You will be guided by the staff and the councillors as how to interact with the children; language is not a barrier – and they will all benefit from friendship and a smile.  We quite literally transform lives and you will be helping to make a difference.”

Co-leaders of Bnei Akiva Kaytana scheme were Rachel Gaon, 21, and Aaron Wunsh, 20, who  were helped by Hannah Myerson, 19.  The project represents many months of planning by the three, who are volunteers.  They have been liaising with Shlomo Kessel, director of the Emunah centre in Afula.

Rachel Gaon said: “My role is to make sure that Kaytana is a structured volunteer programme that will benefit participants and create confidence and boost self esteem.  It is very different to camp because the emphasis is on learning how to interact with a group of children who may not be initially receptive and being able to take cues from staff and Sherut Leumi (national service) volunteers. Our goal is to create the next generation of leaders who will take responsibility for the community while observing traditional orthodox Jewish values.

“Teaming up with Emunah is a win, win situation. Kaytana is an opportunity for Bnei Akiva Madrichim from all over the country to come together to gain valuable experience and training while helping to care for some of Israel’s most vulnerable children.”

A short film made by Hannah Myerson showing just what Kaytana was like is available to view by clicking here.

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This Rosh Hashanah you have the power to help ‘at risk’ children in Israel

You donation can help us to transform the life of an ‘at risk’ child. Please click here to support our 2015 Rosh Hashanah Appeal.

At Talia’s house violence was the norm. Her father had a vicious temper and she regularly saw her mother being assaulted. Talia wanted to protect her mother but was too scared to speak up, so she lived in fear. Sadly, life doesn’t always run smoothly for superheroes.

One night her father returned home drunk and attacked Talia’s mother so violently that she was hospitalised due to her injuries. Social Services stepped in and one year ago, Talia went to live at Emunah’s Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre as an emergency placement. Staff found her quiet and withdrawn and she didn’t mix with the other children.

Emunah’s professional and caring staff turned to music therapy to unlock Talia’s unhappiness. When the therapist played Talia a Russian folk song, she immediately responded, tears streaming down her face.  With patient support, Talia’s complex feelings for her mother and her anger at her father poured out and she began to heal.

Now she is starting to make sense of her traumatic experiences and rebuild her life. Talia also enjoys art therapy and with educational support is starting to excel at school.

Thanks to Emunah, Talia is a survivor of domestic violence, no longer a victim. She now shows resilience and strength: these are her super powers!

British Emunah relies entirely on donations to support 37 projects in Israel. This Rosh Hashanah, please help us to support Talia and the 10,000 other children in Emunah’s care by donating as generously as you can. Together we can transform the lives of Israel’s ‘at risk’ children and make their lives better.

Thank you and Shana Tova.

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Walk the Wall – a three day Sponsored Walk for Women

Why not join a group of 20 women taking part in a three day sponsored walk of Hadrian’s Wall?  Following the great success of Emunah’s previous walks we are back by popular demand! Call Alison on 0208 203 6066 to join – but hurry – its happening soon!

To sponsor the women who are already signed up please click here.

Thank you!

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Emunah Mother & Daughter Israel Trip 2016

Are you making plans for the February half-term in 2016?  The flights to Israel are available now and booking early ensures a great deal.  Why not reserve your place on the fantastic Emunah Mother & Daughter Trip and spend quality time together seeing a different side of Israel?

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Eden goes to Hollywood!

We are very proud of Eden has been invited to participate in the international Maccabi Games and Arts Festival to be held in August 2015 in Hollywood, USA, Emunah Afula’s very first representative.

Eden, a talented 16-year-old girl born in Ethiopia, is an accomplished dancer. Recently Eden choreographed an entire show for the Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre annual Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, and then taught and trained 15 of her friends the steps and moves. The girls were amazing.

Eden was placed at Emunah 3 years ago, after her mother suffered a nervous breakdown and was unable to care of her children.

Last year Eden was one of a group of 15 children from the Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre in Afula  that were brought to the UK for a week’s holiday in December, thanks to the generosity of a group of women who fund-raised specifically for this trip.  Eden is pictured below outside Buckingham Palace (second from the right).

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Emunah Afula boys complete impressive coast to coast walk

In a fantastic display of courage and determination ten teenage boys from the British Emunah project, the Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre in Afula completed a 55-mile hike, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee. This four-day event was the culmination of months of leadership training and outdoor therapy in which the boys built up their skills and learnt to believe in their strengths and abilities.

The boys left the Achziv beach, near Nahariya and began hiking eastward, across the Western Galilee towards Tiberius and Lake Kinneret.
Taking turns as they hiked across the land, the boys carried a special Israeli flag, which they had all signed, expressing their deep connection to their homeland  and their allegiance to the State of Israel.
This achievement was the culmination of a unique hiking program which the boys had participated in for the last five months, during which they built up physical and psychological stamina.

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Tackling the hardest obstacles for Emunah

“It was one of the best experiences and an honour to part of this team to raise money for such a special charity.”

They did it! They ran 20km and tackled150 obstacles….it was the most amazing assault course experience. They ran, waded, jumped and swam through fields, mud, lakes and reservoirs in the freezing cold wind….  close to hyperthermia  but the team made it to the end in 5.5 hours. Thank you to the most amazing team mates Nadia Michaelson GreenbergZoe Carciente, Marguerite Mosafi ,Sasha Horne, Lara Goldsmith, Bernita Druian Shelley and Eliot Mosafi. And a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored them as they raised approx. £2400 for Emunah.

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Golf in Israel – with Emunah

Come and join the first ever Emunah Men’s Golf Trip – Sunday 8th – Thursday 12th November 2015.

Call 020 8203 6066 or email to register your interest.  Further details to follow.

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Brunch Boost for British Emunah

“Buy less…  experience more,” was the message from trend guru and author James Wallman who spoke at an Emunah Brunch organised by volunteer Michelle Plainer.  Each of the 40 guests received a copy of Mr Wallman’s book, ‘Stuffocation – Living More with Less’ at the brunch which took place on Tuesday 19 May at the Central Square Minyan in Hampstead Garden Suburb.  The event raised £1,500 for ‘at risk’ children who are supported at Emunah projects in Israel.

We have additional copies of the book available if you missed the event but would still like a copy.  It’s a fascinating read and the next best thing to having heard him speak in person!  The book is available for £8.50 including P&P (RRP £9.99 for the book). Email if you would like a copy.

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Are you suffering from ‘Stuffocation’? Come to Brunch for the cure!

Are you fed up with the amount of clutter in your life? Come and find out how to cure ‘Stuffocation’. A delicious brunch event with guest speaker author James Wallman. Not to be missed!

James Wallman has been analysing trends and forecasting the future since 2004. He was futurology columnist for technology magazine T3 from 2008-2012. His writing and thoughts on trends and the future have appeared – as articles, columns, and cover features – in many of the world’s leading publications including The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Articles have also appeared in GQ magazine and Condé Naste Traveller. He will be speaking about his recent book “Stuffocation” at our brunch on Tuesday May 19th. To book tickets call 020 8203 6066 or click here to book online.

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Please support “Team Emunah”

This Pesach, instead of putting together a glossy appeal, we are asking Emunah supporters to sponsor our eight dedicated marathon (and one mini marathon) runners as a more cost-effective and efficient way of raising funds. We hope you will make a donation today towards our vital work with ‘at risk’ children in Israel.

“Team Emunah” comprises Alison Cohen, Flora Frank, Claire Gothelf, Charlotte Hamilton, Marc Jackson, Uriya Nakash, Barry Sacher and Yonatan Wilson. Each of these wonderful runners is putting in months of hard physical training in order to ensure they can complete the 26.2 mile course in the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 26 April, 2015. 13 year-old David Stone will be taking part in the mini marathon and completes the team.Together with your help, they will raise much needed funds to provide the therapeutic, extra-curricular activities that are a life-line for the children in Emunah’s care.

Children come to Emunah having suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Some are orphans, while others have been affected by drug abuse or violence within the family. Those living in the south of Israel have been traumatised by years of rocket attacks and terror alerts. At the Neve Landy Children’s Village and the Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre, the children that we care for are treated as if they were part of our own family. They will benefit enormously from activities such as music, swimming, football, basketball or horse riding. For Emunah’s children these are not just fun activities, there is a real therapeutic benefit.

Thank you to everyone who has already donated. You can still donate today to sponsor “Team Emunah” and help to us raise the £20,000 needed to provide life-changing therapeutic activities for our children in Israel.

Send cheques made to “Emunah” to Shield House, Harmony Way, London NW4 2BZ or you can donate online by clicking here to individual runners or the whole “Team Emunah”.

If you prefer, please call us on 0208 203 6066 and make a credit or debit card payment over the phone.

Look out for articles about our runners in this week’s Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News.

Thank you for your support. It is greatly appreciated.

Wishing you a Chag Kasher V’Sameach

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