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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Emunah’s Supper Quiz at Home – Sunday 21st May 2017

A great evening in – for a great cause. Could you host a supper quiz at home for Emunah on Sunday 21st May 2017?

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Team Emunah’s £16k Marathon Experience

British Emunah director Deborah Nathan praised the “unbelievable efforts” of the charity’s six runners who completed the London Marathon raising£16,000 towards a new dormitory at the charity’s children’s centre in Afula, northern Israel.  Leeds-based retailer Jonny Gould was the first team Emunah member to pass the finish line followed by accountant Marc Jackson. The other members were Leeds council worker Claire Gothelf; solicitor David Bondt, accountant Roey Freilich and marathon veteran Flora Frank.

In Israel, Emunah is one of the largest care providers and supports over 12,000 children daily through its network of centres and services.

“It was an amazing day and I was very happy with my time [3:49:50],” said Jonny Gould, 42, the boss of Monster Pet Supplies.  Mr Gould ran the 2015 race for Leeds Welfare Board and this was his first London Marathon for Emunah. “Having my family there gave me a real boost – experience told me to slow down and enjoy, which is what I did. Doing the marathon is special – it makes you feel that England’s great. Thank you Emunah for giving me the opportunity to support a great cause [helping vulnerable children in Israel].”

Accountant Marc Jackson, 48, finished in 3:59:52, saying: “It’s a fantastic experience with people playing music and the crowds cheering you on. The last six miles were a bit challenging and you realise it is as much about mental energy as physical effort.  I was glad and relieved to finish.” The Edgware resident ran for Emunah in 2015 and also did the Paris Marathon 2016. He was spurred on by his wife Wendy Jackson, who runs the Emunah on eBay online charity shop.

Leeds City Council worker Claire Gothelf “got to six miles and I wanted to pack it in – it was so hard.

I started off too quickly but I did it [in 5:19:13] and there was a huge sense of satisfaction. I was running in memory of my dad, Harvey Gothelf, who passed away earlier this year and had a picture of him on my back.” This year her proud mum Margaret Gothelf, a long-term supporter of Emunah, came to London to cheer her daughter on.  Claire also ran for Emunah in 2015.  She runs every day – “I like the challenge… They all know me around Leeds, the lady with the sun glasses and the pink lipstick.”

Two first-time runners took longer than expected due to injury and the number of runners. Prestwich-based solicitor David Bondt, 33, set off with accountant Roey Freilich, 28, (ex-Hendon) from Broughton Park, finishing in in 5:09:09 and 5:31:28 respectively. “The training app on my phone showed I had actually done 28 miles – the first five miles were ok and then it was tough as you had to weave in and out – and at times you had to walk,” said David Bondt. “Things sped up again and I was sprinting but I had to stop and talk to Roey as he was injured.  We ran part of the way arm in arm and then he [bravely] carried on. The crowd was amazing and the sun was shining – it was a good day and I would highly recommend it.

“I’m carrying on a family tradition of supporting Emunah – I was with my [late] grandma Irene when they opened the Beit Bondt building at the Emunah Family Counselling and Day Care Centre in Netivot.”

Roey Freilich added: “I had a slight injury which slowed me down and I saw a physio on the day.  I met David [Bondt] half way through and I just said to him to carry on and I went on to the next treatment station. I had torn my calf muscle, nothing major. For me, it was the mental fortitude to get through and to finish no matter what.  I was exhausted by the end and in quite a lot of pain but it hasn’t stopped me wanting to do the marathon [for Emunah] again next year. It was a good day for a phenomenal cause.”

Great grandmother and Jewish educator, Flora Frank, competes under the Norwood banner while also raising funds for Emunah.  She finished in 6:41:07.

British Emunah director Deborah Nathan said: “I am truly grateful to our runners for completing the marathon course and for their unbelievable efforts in raising funds. Their achievements will be doubly rewarded with the match funding that Emunah in Israel has secured for the refurbished dormitory building in Afula. We’d love to hear from anyone wanting to run the London Marathon 2018 for Emunah.”

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Getting Ready for Pesach – with Emunah

Pesach is a time for questions – as these children photographed at an Emunah Day Care Centre know.

A child’s questions are at the heart of our Seder but for the 12,000 children in Israel who rely on our help, there may be many unanswered questions throughout the year.

“Why is this happening to me?” they all want to know. At Emunah centres across Israel, dedicated and professional staff work tirelessly to give children stability and a better future.
For example at Emunah’s Afula home we provide residential care for 70 children aged between nine and 18 while a further 110 children deemed ‘at risk’ attend daily programmes, returning to their families only to sleep at night.

All the children are referred to Emunah by Israeli social services and come from backgrounds of addiction, mental health problems, violence, neglect or abuse, or have been bereaved.  As one teenage boy recently told us, ” Emunah Afula is the only safe place I have ever known”

This Pesach, please take a moment to think about the children in Emunah’s care and the cost of providing a warm and caring Jewish environment where children can begin to heal and rebuild their lives. This requires specialist help and therapeutic services as well as having a roof over their heads, food and clothing.

Please be generous, if you are able, so that we can give each child an answer to their questions.

To make a donation online please click here, or call British Emunah Head Office on 020 8203 6066 (during normal office hours) to make a donation over the phone.  You can also send cheques or charity vouchers (made payable to ‘British Emunah Fund’) to Emunah, Shield House, Harmony Way, London NW4 1SD.

Thank you for support at Pesach and throughout the year. It is greatly appreciated.
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Walk the Great Wall of China in 2018

Join Emunah for a trip of a lifetime.  A week long trip to China, with walks along the stunning scenery of the Great wall.  Shabbat rest day and all kosher food.

Contact alison@emunah.org.uk for more details and how to register.

Click here to find out more details about the trip

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Make a Leap of Faith – and join us for an 80m freefall abseil!

Show you’ve got Emunah! Join us on the morning of Sunday 2nd July at the Olympic Park to abseil down the 80m Orbit!  £30 to register and minimum sponsorship of £180.

Show everyone how brave you are – and raise funds to help ‘at risk’ children in Israel.

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Join us for a fabulous 4 day walk in the Scottish Highlands

This is going to be an awesome trip! The countryside is beautiful, the hotel is boutique-y and the kosher food will be delicious. You do have to walk a bit (2 half day walks and 2 full days – up a mountain and around a loch) but believe us – it’ll be worth it!

Call Alison on 020 8203 6066 for more details and to reserve your place.

Registration is £300 and we ask you to raise £1500 minimum sponsorship – to help refurbish the teenage boys dormitory in Emunah Afula.

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This Pesach some of Israel’s most vulnerable children have more than four questions to ask

Pesach is a time for questions

A child’s questions are at the heart of our Seder but for the 12,000 children in Israel who rely on our help, there may be many unanswered questions throughout the year.

“Why is this happening to me?” they all want to know. At Emunah centres across Israel, dedicated and professional staff work tirelessly to give children stability and a better future.
For example at Emunah’s Afula home we provide residential care for 70 children aged between nine and 18 while a further 110 children deemed ‘at risk’ attend daily programmes, returning to their families only to sleep at night.

All the children are referred to Emunah by Israeli social services and come from backgrounds of addiction, mental health problems, violence, neglect or abuse, or have been bereaved.  As one teenage boy recently told us, ” Emunah Afula is the only safe place I have ever known”

This Pesach, please take a moment to think about the children in Emunah’s care and the cost of providing a warm and caring Jewish environment where children can begin to heal and rebuild their lives. This requires specialist help and therapeutic services as well as having a roof over their heads, food and clothing.

Please be generous, if you are able, so that we can give each child an answer to their questions.

To make a donation online please click here, or call British Emunah Head Office on 020 8203 6066 (during normal office hours) to make a donation over the phone.  You can also send cheques or charity vouchers (made payable to ‘British Emunah Fund’) to Emunah, Shield House, Harmony Way, London NW4 1SD.

Thank you for support at Pesach and throughout the year. It is greatly appreciated.
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Emunah Retail Therapy Walk is in the News!

Our recent Sponsored Retail Therapy Walk raised vital funds  towards our £200,000 target for the refurbishment of the Beit Rothschild Dormitory in the Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre in Afula.  Photos of our intrepid walkers has appeared in the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Telegraph, new Jewish Weekly and the Jewish News.

Women of all ages and a toddler in a buggy were among the 25 walkers who helped British Emunah to raise £3,000 towards a new dormitory for teenage boys at the charity’s children’s home in Afula. Taking part in the Emunah Retail Therapy Walk at Westfield London shopping centre, participants chose either the 5km or 10km walk having raised money for sponsorship.

The Manchester team included three generations of one family – Belinda Kreike, Dalia Kreike 12 and Madeline Rhodes.

Despite a pair of “dodgy knees” British Emunah director Deborah Nathan completed the 5km walk while raising over £500 in sponsorship. “I was walking for our Afula boys as their accommodation desperately needs a complete refurbishment.  Emunah Israel has secured match funding up to the value of £100,000 for every pound that UK supporters can raise for the project, but the offer is time limited – and we will probably need to raise another £100,00 on top of that.

Ms Nathan added: “The retail therapy walk was a fun and innovative way to innovative way to raise money and the participants really enjoyed themselves – and said they can’t wait for the next one. It has kick started the campaign to raise at least £200k to refurbish Emunah’s Afula home.”

She also praised Westfield London which donated prizes and vouchers – as well as children’s socks that will be sent to the Emunah home.

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New CHIC committee raises over £5k for Emunah.

CHIC committee – Caring Heart’s for Israel’s Children raised £5,000 for Emunah at their first event, a sell-out Supper Quiz held at Mill Hill’s Hartley Hall on Sunday night (19 March 2017).

“It all started with Maccabi GB when I went with my husband who was playing football in Israel and a group of us went on a tour and of all the places we saw, it was the Emunah Children’s home in Afula that captured our hearts,” explains Chic committee vice chair, Adrienne Morris.  “I’ve never done anything like this before but we got together and we oversold the places for the quiz and had a waiting list. There were 150 guests plus helpers.”

The committee comprises Richelle Joseph (chair); Adrienne Morris, Danielle Donne, Suki Grant, Dawn Isaacs, Sarah Leader, Laura Rose, Lu Simons, Gail Walton and British Emunah director Deborah Nathan.

British Emunah director Deborah Nathan adds: “We are delighted to have such a fantastic new committee and supporters who are all fired up to raise money for the vulnerable children in Emunah’s care in our residential home in Afula. The amount raised on the evening surpassed all our expectations and is a real testament to the hard work the whole committee put in to making the evening such a success.  I am already looking forward to their next event!”

The quiz was run by Brian Nathan and his quiz team.  During the evening Shlomo Kessel World Emunah Director spoke about the tragic lives of the ‘at risk’ children in Emunah’s care and a film about Emunah Afula was shown. A raffle on the evening was well supported and helped to raise additional funds.

The £5,000 raised by the event, will be matched in Israel and will be used towards the vital refurbishment of the teenage boys dormitory building.

For more photos please visit our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BritishEmunah/

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The 4 Sons Purim Spiel raises over £8k for Emunah and Chai

Mazal tov and thank you to The 4 Sons (even though there are 6 of them!) who were runners-up in this year’s Spiel Factor and the Woodlands Close competition.  George Rosenfeld (17), Asher Levy (18), Rafi Levy (16), Dov Forman (13), Gideon Caplan (18) and Shimon Hurst (9), spieled their way around north west London at Purim with their a Capella tunes, while raising nearly £8,500 for their chosen charities Emunah and Chai Cancer Care.

“We couldn’t have done it without the generosity of the community and the commitment of all the boys who have been in The 4 Sons as well as their families,” said founder and director George Rosenfeld. “It’s been an incredible journey and a huge privilege.”

British Emunah director Deborah Nathan comments: “We are so grateful that these talented young men have done so well in two competitions and their marathon spieling efforts, and that that they are continuing to raise so much money for vulnerable children who are cared for by Emunah in Israel.  Thank you The Four Sons for everything you do for us – you truly are amazing.”

This year, they chose to parody the song ‘Cheap Thrills’ which they released on their music video ‘Purim Thrills’ which includes their own medley of ‘Adon Olam’ and other tunes.  Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSz3li-IsqQ

To find out more or to buy their CD’s visit http://the4sons.com/

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