As part of Hadassah's ongoing response to the crisis in Ukraine, over 50 Ukrainian teens aged 12 to 18 are finding refuge at the Meir Shfeyah Youth Aliyah Village and Hadassah Neurim Youth Aliyah Village, where they are provided with food, housing, education, counseling and health services.
Meir Shfeyah Youth Aliyah Village, near Haifa, has welcomed 25 students referred by Israel’s Ministry of Education and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) for the Naale program, which allows Jewish teens from outside Israel to complete their high school education in Israel for free. Many of the Ukrainian teens were in the midst of the application process when the war began, and all were immediately admitted.
The kids have been getting to know one another with help from Ukrainian students who were living at Shfeyah before the war, as well as through classes -- including Hebrew, English and math -- work, participating in the village orchestra, taking part in a talent show and participating in a festive Passover seder.
Hadassah Neurim Youth Village, near Natanya, expects to host a total of 24 young people, including students participating in the Naale program. There are 12 teens in residence, including seven elite track and field athletes matched through a collaboration between the Israeli Athletic Union and the local municipal authority. The student athletes, who arrived with their coaches, have access to the Neurim outdoor sports facilities, a gym, basketball courts and the Marlene Edith Post Sports Center, training there until May 31, when they will leave to prepare for a competition in Greece.
Naomi Adler, CEO of Hadassah, says, "Our first goal is to make these young Ukrainians feel safe and nurtured. In addition to recovering from the upheaval and trauma they have experienced, they will need help dealing with an uncertain future. We are here to provide that help."
It's unknown if the teens will be able to return to their home countries before summer, and with that in mind, teachers and residential staff are developing social and cultural activities including workshops, field trips throughout Israel, sporting events, film showings and social gatherings.
Please join Hadassah’s relief efforts by providing a safe, welcoming environment for fleeing youth and their families to find refuge and healing for as long as needed. Your ongoing support and generous contributions allow our Villages to say “yes” when called on to help.
Learn more about Hadassah's Ukraine response efforts.