A Big Mazel Tov to Hadassah's Youth Aliyah Villages

May 26, 2022

A Big Mazel Tov to Hadassah's Youth Aliyah Villages

May 23 was a joyful day at Hadassah's Meir Shfeyah Youth Aliyah Village, with a special bar/bat mitzvah celebration for some 30 youth, girls and boys, part of a Shfeyah Hebrew program. The ceremony, led by Rabbi Israel and Dr. Esther Serok, a lifetime Hadassah member, included a performance by the Shfeyah's renowned Mandolin Orchestra, which included several Bedouin boys.

Hanging as a backdrop to the ceremony was an artwork created by the girls, featuring the colors of the Russian and Ukrainian flags, the mountains and the desert, with footprints leading to Jerusalem and to Meir Shfeyah. Attending the ceremony on behalf of Hadassah and the Hadassah Medical Organization were Barbara "BG" Goldstein, Audrey Shimron, Crystal Stubbs and past Hadassah National President Marcie Natan, who took time to bottle-feed a Shfeyah calf. Leading up to the ceremony, the students led Shabbat prayers, lit Shabbat candles and sang songs, proud to participate in Hadassah’s pilot program “Joy of Judaism," which teaches children about Jewish thought, tradition and practice.

Some other spring Youth Aliyah highlights:

  • More than 50 Ukrainian teens aged 12 to 18 are finding refuge at Hadassah's youth villages, including seven elite track and field athletes, who arrived with their two coaches and are training for an upcoming competition in Europe. The athletes, who were matched with Neurim through a collaboration between the Israeli Athletic Union and the local municipal authority, will continue their training at the village until the end of May, when they will fly to Greece to prepare for a competition.
  • Another group of b'nai mitzvah students enjoyed an inspiring day in Jerusalem to connect with their Jewish heritage and values, part of Shfeyah's new "Steps to Maturity" program. The day started at the Abbell Synagogue at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, where the young people were warmly greeted and blessed by Deputy Executive Director Barbara Goldstein and Dr. Serok, director of the program for Jewish Zionist identity. The group then visited the Herzl Museum and the Knesset, where they met with Knesset Speaker Mickey Levi, a Shfeyah alum, and the Kotel, where the kids left notes and prayers and even explored its ancient tunnels.
  • ‎On Yom Hazikaron (Remembrance Day), Meir Shfeyah marked the day with ceremonies, educational programs and an interactive exhibit depicting Jewish life before, during and after the Holocaust. Staff, students and graduates in uniform attended ceremonies with hope for a future of dignity, safety and peace in tribute to the 24,000 Israeli soldiers lost in wars since 1948.

Hadassah's Youth Aliyah villages provide a safe, nurturing environment for at-risk young immigrants and native Israelis with shelter, food, counseling, education and other supportive services.

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