A Real Emunah Hero Reaches for the Stars

Itzik Elstein, now 20, was a resident at Emunah's Youth Village in Pardes Chana, for more than 9 years. As Itzik settled into his new "home" he started to feel secure and loved for the first time in his life, helping him to believe in a future for himself. It is there, that he first began to set goals for himself, and to reach them. 

As Itzik grew up, he dreamed of  being a pilot in the Israeli Air Force.  With that goal in mind, he set out to make his dream a reality! 

At what age did you join the children's home?

"I came to the children's home in Pardes Chana, managed by David Fridman, at the age of 9 due to financial difficulties at home", he says.
"My mother made big efforts but could not maintain our home and support me, so at the beginning of fourth grade I was sent to the children's home.The difference between my former school and the children's home was significant for me. For the first time I received warm and personal attention. A counselor was in charge of every few children and was with us 24/7. Until that time there was no one who accompanied me on such a close basis. Even if my mother had wanted to, she had to work all the time, and this did not leave her much time to be with me. The fact that in the children's home everyone understands your condition and knows you turns it into a situation where everyone only wants to help. It was a very warm and enveloping system and I received everything I had lacked. Suddenly there was someone to help me with my homework, something I had never had. I received a home and warmth, mainly a sense of being at home."

"I cried out for help

Before I came to the children's home I had a tough time socially. I was an outsider at the school I attended and I was a trouble maker. Today I understand that this was my way of crying out to everyone for help, and indeed when I reached the children's home I began to understand that this was exactly what I needed. At the children's home it was easier for me to fit in, I felt an equal among equals, I didn't feel inferior, and this gave me confidence and a foundation to grow from. In time I became an excellent student, to such a degree that I was given awards and praised before everyone, as I remember well. My first counselor during my first year is still an inseparable part of my life, at the children's home he was a type of father to me, and we have remained in touch to this day."

When did you decide to try out for the pilots' course?

"It developed gradually. I had been taken on delegations abroad to run half marathons on behalf of the children's home, so I learned how to persevere and meet challenges. When I received my call-up to the IDF I didn't know what I wanted to do, and when I was asked about my preferences I really had no idea. In addition, I'm a single child and I have no father so I could have received an exemption from combat duty. When I received the data from the first call-up, I understood that all the options were open for me, so I told myself that I have to make it to the pilots' course. It took me time to convince my mother and to receive all the approvals, but after the first selection process I decided that I'm going for it and there's no way I won't be accepted. I pulled myself together and aimed for the goal and I made it. When I reached the course I felt that I had already reached the goal, I didn't have the urge to finish the course and I decided to take a break and study in a Mechina preparatory program to better understand my goals. At the Mechina I learned a lot about myself and about the army, I understood what is really important, and after putting much thought into it I decided to apply for the armored corps, and I'm only starting out now."

Where do you live today?

"I'm in touch with my mother, but I have an adoptive family that accepted me very nicely and I live with them, something that is not to be taken for granted. Not every person is willing to open his home to a stranger, someone who is different, and they care for me as if I was their own son."


This article is a translation of the original article published by Kippa. 

To read the full article in hebrew, please visit "Kippa": https://bit.ly/2Fw9sEa

Beautiful and talented Eden Nagado, a 17-year-old senior, will commence her 6th year at the Emunah Children’s Center in Afula in September. Eden’s father, an alcoholic, is serving a lengthy sentence in the Be’er Sheva maximum security prison, for domestic violence. Until recently Eden had no contact with her father but with the intervention of the Emunah team, she met him for the first time. The meeting was moving and empowering, and Eden has grown a great deal since then. She is a madricha of a local Bnei Akiva group and an outstanding young lady who has chosen life.

Eden has been learning to play the piano at the Emunah Center since she was 12. She is a very talented player and singer, and recently, with the encouragement of Yair Daniel, the director of the center, Eden has begun to record her own album. She also appears often with the Emunotes, Emunah Afula’s performing choir and dancing troup.

Little Sara was recently brought to Emunah's Neve Michael Children's Emergency Center. She is slight and brittle and the look in those sad dark eyes tells an awful tale. There is a desolate place in her soul emanating through those cheerless eyes, as if someone took the light out of her life.

The circumstances of Sara's arrival at Emunah's Neve Michael are similar to those of so many of our children. She was brought here by Court order after the Welfare authorities determined that her natural parents were no longer capable of raising her in a normal family environment. They were alerted of Sara's plight when the neighbors heard screaming sounds coming from her apartment. The story behind those screams was horrifying. They were made by Sara's mother, who was subjected to regular beatings at the hands of Sara's father.  We learned through neighbors that the beatings weren't the worst part, as they would often hear the cry: "no, not my little girl!" ringing down the hallway.

Poor Sara was panic stricken when she had been taken from her home. We asked her if she knew why she was brought to us, and she said in a small voice that broke our hearts: "Is it because my daddy was touching me?"

Since her arrival Sara has gone through a most painful transition. Slowly, she is coming to understand that her parents are no longer the main figures in her life. That role has been passed on to the caring folks at our Children's Home, who Sara is now turning to with trusting eyes and depending on to take care of her.

The housemother at our children's dormitory is heartened by the sight of Sara sitting with the other children to eat her meals without coaxing. Her appetite has come back, along with the color in her cheeks. Of late, she has even rewarded our housemother with hugs, and she is smiling more every day.

There are different ways of touching a little girl. One leaves a scar for life. The other is that special human touch that we give so tenderly at Emunah's Neve Michael. It brings our children hope, reassurance, and restores the joy that was taken from their childhood.

Emunah's Neve Michael Children's Emergency Center

Little Leah was recently brought to Emunah's Neve Michael Children's Emergency Center. She is slight and brittle and the look in those sad dark eyes tells an awful tale. There is a desolate place in her soul emanating through those cheerless eyes, as if someone took the light out of her life.

The circumstances of Leah's arrival at Emunah's Neve Michael are similar to those of so many of our children. She was brought here by Court order after the Welfare authorities determined that her natural parents were no longer capable of raising her in a normal family environment. They were alerted of Leah's plight when the neighbors heard screaming sounds coming from her apartment. The story behind those screams was horrifying. They were made by Leah's mother, who was subjected to regular beatings at the hands of Leah's father.  We learned through neighbors that the beatings weren't the worst part, as they would often hear the cry: "no, not my little girl!" ringing down the hallway.

Poor Leah was panic stricken when she had been taken from her home. We asked her if she knew why she was brought to us, and she said in a small voice that broke our hearts: "Is it because my daddy was touching me?"

Since her arrival Leah has gone through a most painful transition. Slowly, she is coming to understand that her parents are no longer the main figures in her life. That role has been passed on to the caring folks at our Children's Home, who Leah is now turning to with trusting eyes and depending on to take care of her.

The housemother at our children's dormitory is heartened by the sight of Leah sitting with the other children to eat her meals without coaxing. Her appetite has come back, along with the color in her cheeks. Of late, she has even rewarded our housemother with hugs, and she is smiling more every day.

There are different ways of touching a little girl. One leaves a scar for life. The other is that special human touch that we give so tenderly at Emunah's Neve Michael. It brings our children hope, reassurance, and restores the joy that was taken from their childhood.

Emunah Neve Michael Children's Village

At the end of October 2009, 15-year-old Revital arrived at the doorstep of the first Teen Age Girls’ Crisis Center in Israel, housed at Emunah’s Neve Michael Children’s Village. Revital was accompanied by a police officer and a social worker after being dragged from the streets of Jerusalem.

After many hours of therapy, the professional staff at Neve Michael's, discovered that Revital had been sexually abused when she was 5 years old by a family member, who is now deceased. Unfortunetly, Revital’s family was not able to prevent the subsequent deterioration in their daughter’s life.

Revital spent 5 and a half months at the Crisis Center and was then placed with a foster family in the north, who specializes in caring for girls-at-risk. Though she is living with the family, she receives professional support from time to time, from the Neve Michael staff.   Recently, Revital was reunited with her older sister, although the rest of her family have entirely cut her off. 

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