Joan Sparber and Olin Schocket of Phoenix, Arizona, on a recent visit to the Jewish Agency's Hadassah Neurim Youth Village.
December 30, 2010 / 23 Tevet 5771
On a recent visit to Israel, Joan Sparber and Olin Schocket of Phoenix, Arizona, spent quality time at the Hadassah Neurim Youth Village.
The Jewish Agency’s four Youth Aliyah Villages provide a normative, residential environment where new immigrants and youth at risk receive the intervention they need to heal and flourish.
The Hadassah Neurim Youth Aliyah Village, located along the Mediterranean near Netanya, is a joint partnership of the Jewish Agency and the Hadassah Zionist Women’s Organization. Nearly 400 new immigrants and native Israelis teens study at the Village’s high school. Many of them come from economically disadvantaged or abusive homes and have met with only failure in other educational settings. Hadassah Neurim offers these students a second chance to learn and develop in what is often the first safe and supportive environment they have ever known.
In addition to the academic and vocational tracks offered in its high school, a full range of extracurricular activities allow students to discover their hidden talents and unlock their potential. One special program is a therapeutic petting zoo where the youth learn to care for a variety of animals. The carpentry shop, as well, offers the youth a chance to learn hands-on woodworking and carpentry skills.
Youth from the Hadassah Neurim Youth Village with some of the animals
in their therapeutic petting zoo.
The Village is also renowned for its exceptional sports program, which cultivates champion Israeli athletes, and its graduate program, through which former students have the opportunity to continue at the Village for a special two-year program where they learn electronics and heavy machinery operation. These skills transform students into a valuable resource for the army, which recruits them directly from the Village to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.
"Olin and I were most impressed with our visit to the Hadassah Neurim Youth Village," said Joan. "The students that we met in the carpentry shop appeared to be enthusiastic and proud of the work that they have accomplished. And what a great idea it is to provide students with a means of experiencing love and warmth with all the animals in their new petting farm. These two programs, coupled with the educational programs provided to these students, we are sure, has led to the continuing success of this youth village for so many years."
The December 13th visit to Hadassah Neurim also included a meeting with Natan Biton, Director of the Youth Village.
Additionally, the couple spent time at one of the Jewish Agency's Ethiopian Absorption Centers in Safed.