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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Launching the 2015 Emunah Young Musician and Young Singer of the Year Competitions!

Entry to the 2015 Emunah Young Musician of the Year and Emunah Young Singer of the Year is now open!

This year we once again have £500 prize fund  (kindly sponsored by Wienerworld) to be shared between the overall winner of the  Young Musician  competition (£250) and the Emunah Young Singer of the Year  (£250).We are looking for talented young musicians and singers aged 8 – 18 to take part in this competition which is held in conjunction with the Jewish Chronicle, and sponsored by Wienerworld Ltd.

To download an entry form click here. Full rules for the competition are available by clicking here. Any other questions – please call us on 020 8203 6066. To download the 2015 flier please click here.

Applications must be received by Thursday 22nd January 2015.

London Heats will be on Sunday 1st February 2015.   The Showcase Final Concert will be held on Sunday 1st March 2015 at the Royal Academy of Music.

Please let anyone know who you think may  be interested to enter – It’s a wonderful opportunity to make music and to ultimately raise funds to provide music therapy for vulnerable children in Israel at our residential children’s centres.  To read more about how Emunah uses music therapy to help children please click here.

Emunah in Israel operates a network of children’s homes, high schools, day care centres, therapy and counselling services and community centres helping disadvantaged children and families.

We will once again present the Steven Isserlis Cup for the use of Music for Charitable Purposes – at our Showcase Concert.  Please call 0208 203 6066 for more information on this special award.

For photos and a report on last year’s competition, please click here.

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Helping Emunah’s Children Appeals to Tracy Ann Oberman

Actress Tracy-Ann Oberman showed her support for disadvantaged children in Israel when she made the appeal at Emunah’s gala dinner at Guildhall on Tuesday 2nd December 2014.

Over £230,000 was raised on the evening at which the charity announced plans to expand accommodation and services for “some of Israel’s most disturbed children” at its Neve Landy Children’s Village.

Ms Oberman told the 460 diners.  “Every child that Emunah cares for has their own story – neglect, abuse, poverty, drug addiction – or the death or illness of a family member.  We have a responsibility to help them face the future.”

Michelle Hirschfield, co-dinner chair with Esther Lee, spoke of her distress at the recent terror attack in Jerusalem in which her cousin Avraham Goldberg was murdered. She said the £750,000 needed for the charity’s expansion plans were in addition to the £500k annual maintenance bill paid by British Emunah to support 37 of the charity’s projects.

To make a donation to the appeal please click here.

The Appeal film made by Ronit Knoble of Fantastic Films showed the immediate and longer term impact of Operation Protective Edge on Emunah’s children and staff. The film also featured Emunah supporter Fay Sober and her Pinner knitting group who made teddy bears which brought smiles to the children in Emunah centres in Southern Israel.

Sharon Dewinter welcomed a group of 15 children from the Emunah Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre who were visiting London for a week’s trip.  Speaking in English and Hebrew Sharon described how the visit was life-changing for the children and for the host families with whom they are staying.

Emunah has a network of children’s homes, high schools, day care and counselling centres throughout Israel.

Guest speaker Joshua Hantman, senior advisor to Israel’s ambassador to USA Ron Dermer, said Emunah’s work with vulnerable children “strengthened an entire nation.” Originally from London, Mr Hantman made Aliyah and was IDF spokesperson before taking up his position in Washington.

British Emunah chairman Hilary Pearlman and Mike Freer MP also spoke and entertainment was provided by Emunah Young Musician of the Year pianist Elizabeth Kandelaki and Young Singer, Emma Sherrard as well as finalists Louis Isaacs and Olivia Ter-Berg who played saxophone and harp.

Mrs Hirschfield later said: “It was an incredible evening and a great social success.”

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Israel tribute for legendary Leeds Emunah charity workers


Brothers Jonathan Straight and Elliot Gay paid tribute to their late parents Alan and Monica Gay at a re- dedication held at Emunah’s Neve Landy home in Southern Israel, writes Sue Rifkin.  The home’s therapy wing was previously named in memory of their father Alan Gay.  Sadly Mrs Gay, a dedicated communal worker and Chairman of the Leeds-based Tzfia Goren Emunah group, passed away in December 2013.  Her sons subsequently decided to visit the Emunah project and to rename the wing in both names.  Over £10,000 was raised in their honour through charitable donations from family and friends in the Leeds community.

Leeds entrepreneur Jonathan Straight changed his name from Gay by deed poll attracting national attention for his business interests. Elliot Gay was also accompanied by his two young sons. They were joined by a contingent from Leeds as well as British Emunah Director Deborah Nathan.

The Neve Landy home has a highly trained staff team which looks after 74 boys aged between six and 16 who have severe emotional and psychological problems.

Deborah Nathan said:  “We were delighted that the brothers could see for themselves the work that meant so much to their mother and her co-workers – clearly they were impressed.  Mr Straight spoke movingly about his late parents – it was a wonderful way to celebrate the success of the Tzfia Goren group who worked tirelessly to raise funds for disadvantaged children in Israel for nearly 50 years.”

Their October visit was one of two dedication ceremonies that took place.  Maureen Brooks (known as ‘Mo’) unveiled a plaque marking donations for art therapy in memory of her late mother, Mrs Lily Feldman, a founder member of the Leeds Women’s Mizrachi group which became the TzfiaGoren Emunah Group.

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Emunah Rosh Hashanah Appeal – Please help children like Avi

As a new year begins we have to ask for your support once again. We are enormously grateful that many of you have responded so generously to our Emergency Appeal — the ongoing needs of the children, like Avi, aged 8, remain as desperate as ever.

This year Israel has been at war and the 10,000 children that Emunah look after have had to bear an additional burden. They do not have the support of family or friends — no safety net or security to help them through these dark days — apart from Emunah.

After Avi’s mother died his father abandoned him, disappearing from his life, leaving him with his elderly grandmother. Although he promised to visit, his father never came.

Avi became aggressive, refused to go to school and eventually ran away. At this point social services got involved and last September referred Avi to Emunah to be placed in full-time residential care.

His first weeks at the Afula Children’s Home were challenging. Avi wouldn’t speak and often displayed violent behaviour, but staff quickly realised that he couldn’t read or write which contributed to his feelings of frustration, shame and anger. For the first time in his life Avi received regular hot meals, clean clothes and one-to one attention. Emunah also provided a programme of specialist educational support where he made rapid progress and soon learnt to read and write. As part of his ongoing behavioural and bereavement therapy Avi started to spend a lot of time at the home’s petting zoo, where with the help of a trained therapist, he learnt to take great care of a rabbit. A simple thing – but one that has helped Avi to love, share and trust the world again.

A year on, the transformation in Avi is remarkable. The sad, angry child who joined us last year is now a happier boy who has made friends and has a positive future to look forward to. He was even awarded a certificate for excellence at school – an achievement that everyone was delighted to celebrate with him.

This Rosh Hashanah please support Emunah’s work in Israel so we can help more vulnerable children like Avi.

Your donation enables us to rebuild shattered lives today and guide vulnerable children towards becoming valuable members of Israeli society in the future.

Click here to donate on-line.  Alternatively you can call 020 8203 6066 to make a donation by phone or send donations to Emunah, Shield House, Harmony Way, London, NW4 2BZ.

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Emunah Quiz at Home raises £3,000

Israel’s children in need will receive a welcome cash boost thanks to £3,000 raised through supper quizzes held at 13 homes in north- west London and Hertfordshire on Sunday night 14 September.

The hosts made dinner for their friends then took part in the Emunah-supplied quiz which included general knowledge rounds and brainteasers.  Their answers were coordinated by volunteer Michele Stern.

Held at the Stanmore home of Laura and Neil Sint, the winning team ( pictured above)comprised Rosina and Andrew Eder, Carole and Martin Briggs, Francine and Charles Wunsh, Jacqui Rudolph, Caroline Smer, Laura Sint, Camille and Michael Compton. “It was good fun, a great way to raise funds to support some of Israel’s most vulnerable children,” said Emunah director Deborah Nathan.

The trophy pictured is the hosts own!

Thank you to everyone who took part.  A good time was had by all!

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Emunah Rosh Hashanah Appeal – Please help children like Avi

As a new year begins we have to ask for your support once again. We are enormously grateful that many of you have responded so generously to our Emergency Appeal — the ongoing needs of the children, like Avi, aged 8, remain as desperate as ever.

This year Israel has been at war and the 10,000 children that Emunah look after have had to bear an additional burden. They do not have the support of family or friends — no safety net or security to help them through these dark days — apart from Emunah.

After Avi’s mother died his father abandoned him, disappearing from his life, leaving him with his elderly grandmother. Although he promised to visit, his father never came.

Avi became aggressive, refused to go to school and eventually ran away. At this point social services got involved and last September referred Avi to Emunah to be placed in full-time residential care.

His first weeks at the Afula Children’s Home were challenging. Avi wouldn’t speak and often displayed violent behaviour, but staff quickly realised that he couldn’t read or write which contributed to his feelings of frustration, shame and anger. For the first time in his life Avi received regular hot meals, clean clothes and one-to one attention. Emunah also provided a programme of specialist educational support where he made rapid progress and soon learnt to read and write. As part of his ongoing behavioural and bereavement therapy Avi started to spend a lot of time at the home’s petting zoo, where with the help of a trained therapist, he learnt to take great care of a rabbit. A simple thing – but one that has helped Avi to love, share and trust the world again.

A year on, the transformation in Avi is remarkable. The sad, angry child who joined us last year is now a happier boy who has made friends and has a positive future to look forward to. He was even awarded a certificate for excellence at school – an achievement that everyone was delighted to celebrate with him.

This Rosh Hashanah please support Emunah’s work in Israel so we can help more vulnerable children like Avi.

Your donation enables us to rebuild shattered lives today and guide vulnerable children towards becoming valuable members of Israeli society in the future.

Click here to donate on-line.  Alternatively you can call 020 8203 6066 to make a donation by phone or send donations to Emunah, Shield House, Harmony Way, London, NW4 2BZ.

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Shrapnel falls on Emunah Day Care Centre

A large piece of shrapnel from an intercepted missile landed on the roof of the Emunah Day Care Centre in Bnei Brak on Sunday 3 August 2014.  Liora Minka, chairman of Israel Emunah said: “The children had left half an hour before to go home then we heard the siren and left the office.  We heard an explosion – it was an awful noise.  The police and military arrived and said they thought there was something on the top of our building.  Thank G-d no one was hurt – it was a miracle.  The picture shows the shrapnel after the security people brought it down from the roof.”

Last month [July 17], Emunah’s Beit Hagedy Day Care Centre escaped tragedy when rocket debris landed next to the building.

British Emunah is extremely grateful to all who have responded so generously to our  emergency appeal which has raised more than £40,000 over the past two weeks to provide additional staff, counselling and supplies for its centres in Southern Israel.

Click here to make a donation or call Emunah Head Office on 0208 203 6066.

Click here to visit our website and for more information about British Emunah’s 36 projects in Israel.

Thank you for your support.

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Israel at War – How Emunah Keeps Children Safe

Israel is at war and Emunah in Israel is working round the clock to ensure the safety and security of the children in our care.  Many of the children who Emunah looks after do not have their own family to protect them – they come from backgrounds of abuse, neglect and poverty.  Emunah is there to provide a safe haven and to give the children a chance of a better future.

Click here to view a short film made in the last few days – to see for yourself how Emunah is responding to the ongoing war.

Whilst we are extremely grateful to everyone who has already donated to our Emergency Appeal more help is still desperately needed as the war continues.

DONATE NOW TO HELP EMUNAH KEEP CHILDREN SAFE

£18 – Provides toys for children spending long hours in a shelter

£50 – Provides a child with a one-to-one counselling session

£100 – Per night, to provide an additional night-time member of staff at the Neve Landy Children’s Village (4 are needed every night)

£200 – Provides materials for art therapy

£500 – Provide respite activities and entertainment for the boys in Neve Landy

£1,000 – Helps  to  provide additional  staff  at our day-care centres to ensure the children’s safety

£5,000 – Helps to provide the support of a child psychiatrist at our Crisis Centre in Sderot

Click here to donate online or call our Emergency Appeal Telephone Number 020 8203 6066 to donate by credit or debit card.

Cheques to Emunah can also be sent to Emunah – Emergency Appeal, Shield House, Harmony Way, London NW4 2BZ

For further information please contact Emunah Director Deborah Nathan 020 8203 6066 or email deborah@emunah.org.uk
Details of all of our 36 projects in Israel can be found on our website http://emunah.org.uk/

In aid of British Emunah Fund

Reg. Charity No. 215398

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“I am frightened of the missiles….I can’t sleep at night”

Thank you to those who have already generously supported our Emergency Appeal.  However we are still receiving daily requests from our centres in Israel for more help that is urgently needed.

Day and night, the boys who live in Emunah’s Neve Landy Children’s  Village in Even Shmuel have just 30 seconds to reach their shelter when a siren sounds. They cannot leave the relative security of the home to take part in normal summer holiday activities because  the  surrounding areas are too dangerous to travel through. These boys are being cared for by Emunah as they have severe emotional and  psychological problems and they lack family support so the additional trauma and stress is all the more keenly felt.

Locked in a shelter for safety

We heard this week how very young children at an Emunah Day Care Centre in the South of Israel had to be kept safe by being locked in a  shelter for three hours as there was the threat of terrorist intruders in the area.  Keeping the children calm and distracted for long periods is an enormous challenge for Emunah’s dedicated staff.  Additional personnel, toys and equipment are urgently needed.
Please help us to create an island of calm in a sea of danger and uncertainty.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

We need to raise additional funds to be able to respond immediately:

  • £18 – Provides toys for children spending long hours in a shelter
  • £50 – Provides a child with a one-to-one counselling session
  • £100 – Per night, to provide an additional night-time member of staff at the Neve Landy Children’s Village
  • £200 – Provides materials for art therapy
  • £500 – Provide respite activities and entertainment for the boys in Neve Landy
  • £1,000 – Helps  to  provide additional  staff  at our day-care centres to ensure the children’s safety
  • £5,000 – Helps to provide the support of a child psychiatrist at our Crisis Centre in Sderot

While we pray that all Israel will have peace  – we know that the effects of this war will have an  ongoing impact on our children even after the immediate crisis is over. Your support now is truly appreciated.

Click here to donate online at  or call our Emergency Appeal Telephone Number 020 8203 6066 to donate by credit or debit card.

Cheques to Emunah can also be sent to Emunah – Emergency Appeal, Shield House, Harmony Way, London NW4 2BZ

For further information please contact Emunah Director Deborah Nathan 020 8203 6066 or email deborah@emunah.org.uk

In aid of British Emunah Fund

Reg. Charity No. 215398

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Israel Under Fire – Help Emunah’s children today!

British Emunah calls upon our UK supporters to step up their financial support for children and families who are affected by the daily rocket attacks currently targeting southern Israel by launching an Emergency Appeal.

Director Deborah Nathan explains:  “The children attending the  British Emunah Netivot Day Care Centre have  been particularly badly affected as tension has increased over recent days. To provide immediate relief a respite day in the north was arranged at very short notice to allow the children a break from the stress and trauma that they were experiencing with constant sirens and red alerts.  At other of our day care centres we are paying for extra counsellors and extra food, as well as buying new toys and games to keep the children busy during the long hours they spend in the shelters at our residential home in Neve Landy.

Extra supplies are needed at our centres which cater for small children as it is essential that they did not run out of nappies, bottles and formula  A greater ratio of staff is needed at Day Care Centres which are allowed by the government to remain open as there must be enough adult supervision to be able to get the children to a place of safety in as little as 30 seconds. More manpower is also needed at the Sarah Ronson Crisis and Intervention Centre in Sderot which runs a 24-hour helpline and counselling services and where staff and clients are under enormous pressure, living so close to Gaza.

Israel is living with the reality of being under attack.  Emunah’s vital services are stretched to cope and to give the children and families in Israel the support they need at this difficult time. We cannot wait – help is needed now.

Please donate online by clicking here or call 020 8203 6066 and make a credit or debit card payment.  Cheques to ‘Emunah’ can be sent to Emunah Emergency Appeal, Shield House, Harmony Way, Hendon, London NW4 1SD.

Thank you.”

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