March/April 2012 at the JHCH
Purim at the Childrens' Home
March was a time of celebration at the Children's Home when everyone's thoughts turned to Purim. Creativity was the order of the day and hours were spent planning costumes, decorations and carnival booth ideas. Traditional "mishloach manot" of goodies and presents came from some of our local supporters, from nearby Neve Ilan and from our friends at Intel.
The day before Purim began preparations were in full swing as our campus school staged a "hair and makeup" happening for the children to prepare their costumes and props... later that day the flurry of activity shifted to the living units as each group decorated their living quarters in a different theme - a haunted house, Spongebob Squarepants, the Smerfs, and even Angry Birds and even our own version of The Voice. Well done to the children and the counselors as the units were truly transformed.
Then the big moment arrived – all gathered for the procession and to check out everyone else's costume. Some stayed with the theme of their unit and some went their own individual way – children and counselors alike! A rousing Purim performance which included a contribution from every age group and then the Purim carnival began..... booths and activities, prizes and lots of great snacks
News from Beit Kemper
Our Beit Kemper Group House for Teen Boys is moving to a new location. The Group House absorbs adolescent boys, from all parts of Israel, who suffer from emotional problems and need residential care. Some of the boys are graduates of the Children's Home who require additional residential treatment before being mainstreamed into normative frameworks. Nearly all of the boys at the Group House are rehabilitated and mainstreamed, successfully enlisting in the country's mandatory army service at the age of 18, going on to study and maintaining healthy relationships with their surroundings. The new property, located in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood of Jerusalem is more centrally located, allowing for easier mobility when going to school or after school clubs and activities. More importantly the larger, better suited building will allow us to increase the number of boys in our care from 14-22.
The boys of Beit Kemper are getting a once-in-a lifetime opportunity this month as they are invited to be the guests of the Jewish community in Marseille France. For most of the boys this will be their first trip abroad and they are all very excited. The week will be filled with sight-seeing, interesting activities including a sail to a local island and a football (soccer) match, as well as Friday night dinner with families from the community. We believe this will be an exciting and enriching experience for the boys and we hope that this will be the beginning of a continuing relationship with the Jewish community there.
Passover arrived early in April this year and with it the excitement of spring and for the
children vacation from school Before going home for the holiday we had the traditional Children's Home Seder. Everyone wore white and the dining room was decorated with home-made Pesach art work. Those that read from our special Haggadah were well-rehearsed and our choir was in good voice.
Each age group had their own part and everyone participated.
The food was plentiful and even the Matzahs were tasty. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday all together before the school break
Vacation Group Pesach 2012
There are children at the Children's Home whose family situation is too destructive or threatening to allow them to go home during school holidays. For these children the Children's Home continues its operations 365 days a year. A child who on the eve of a holiday must remain on campus, because there is no one who can take him in and offer love and security, is a child whose sadness never leaves his eyes. Over the past decade we have witnessed an increase in the number of children who cannot go home for vacation. For us, it is essential to create, especially for these children, a warm, embracing, positive milieu that will see them through the hard times, as they watch their peers going home for vacation. We invest a lot of thought and effort in order to provide them with an exciting, embracing and supportive experience. This Pesach holiday we would like to thank the Allswang family for inviting the children who remained for a lovely day out at the Ecological Farm in Modiin. The day started with a bicycle hike, was followed by a short lesson in outdoor cooking and ended with a hike to a secret cave. The children returned at the end of the day tired but happy. The next day, in what is becoming a wonderful tradition, the children were invited to spend the day as guests of the Neve Ilan Hotel, including a lunch with all their favorite foods. Two wonderful special days for these very deserving special children.
The end of April in Israel marks the commemorative days:
Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron. At the Children’s Home these days were addressed with the solemnity and the reverence they deserve. The older children, especially our Junior Unit prepared ceremonies that were both informative and very moving. Holocaust Memorial Day was dedicated to the memory of Anne Frank. The Junior Unit dedicated time from their studies to learn the history and the story of the Frank family. Then at a ceremony, prepared by the children themselves they told the story to the rest of the children in the home, through pictures and passages that were read from her famous diary. All who were present could not help but be moved by the presentation, by the haunting melodies of our choir and by the quiet dignity with which all of our children marked this important remembrance day.
Yom Hazikaron (IDF Memorial Day) was marked a week later.Once again our youngsters rose to the occasion with a heartfelt and moving ceremony. At 11:00 all gathered in their white shirts to await the nationwide siren and two minutes of silence for Israel’s fallen. The ceremony, again led by our oldest children was highlighted by the lowering of the flag to half-mast, the lighting of the eternal flame, readings, songs sungV beautifully by our school choir and the presentation of a memorial wreaths prepared and laid by the eternal flame by members of each our 6 units.We are so proud of our children for preparing and presenting this meaningful and very touching memorial.
A full movie - home made
Our Children’s Home film club has been hard at work producing their very first film. This original production is theirs from beginning to end and includes writing the script, planning thev action, the filming, acting and editing. As part of the project, they were allowed to visit the news studio of Israel Channel 2 News to film and Israel News Broadcaster Oded Ben Ami agreed to play himself in the film. This very exciting development was an added extra to an already interesting project for the club
INTEL strikes again
As they arrived in their unmistakable blue shirts shouts were heard all
over the campus “Intel is here to paint”. For this group of volunteers this was the second time they came to help us paint on campus.
This time around, our steadfast Intel
volunteers were join ed by the younger children as each unit joined in painting their dedicated classrooms in our campus school.
In a flurry of white paint, rollers and brushes, everyone donned the little plastic booties gloves and caps courtesy of Intel and stuck in.
Everyone worked very hard and the time spent working together was as therapeutic as it was productive with real connections growing between our children and our Intel Friends .