Like everywhere in Israel following the horrific attack on Israeli residents by Hamas terrorists on October 7, Hadassah’s two Youth Aliyah villages, Meir Shfeyah in the north and Hadassah Neurim in central Israel, are trying to adjust to a new reality.
Because some of the villages’ students are in Israel without any family nearby, immediately after the attack the staff mobilized to provide a safe and secure environment for those teens who remained on campus. Living quarters had to be reconfigured to accommodate families who moved to the villages after being evacuated from the south.
Now that classes are resuming, vulnerable and innocent youngsters will be returning to a school that looks the same but is in an environment that is completely changed for everyone, staff and students alike.
The following message was sent on October 29 by Lauren Stern Kedem, Meir Shfeyah liaison:
A few days ago, Meir Shfeyah students volunteered to help a local farmer clear a field for planting. Because so many workers have been called up for reserve duty, because so many families in the south and north have had to leave their homes and workplaces and because foreign workers have left the country, there is an extreme shortage of agricultural workers, as well as service providers and business salespeople. This has created a void in many essential areas.
School will resume now on a modified schedule, and most of our residential students will return to the village. They are safe and cared for, helping one another and helping others. Because this is what we do.
The following message was sent on October 28 by Einat Reich, chair of the board of Hadassah Neurim:
Immediately after the attack, Hadassah Neurim took in 160 evacuees from Kfar Silver, a youth village located in the south of Israel. The traumatized students and staff are being integrated into all the activities taking place in the village alongside our students.
This week, ninth- and 10th-grade students resumed their high school courses using a hybrid model that enabled them to conduct classes together with kids from Kfar Silver who are still at home. The youngsters are enjoying the swimming pool, are taking part in robotics activities and are spending many hours in the gym.
A special group that is studying agriculture goes out every day to work on the farms of Emek Hefer, a nearby village. They are also assisting in the development of a unique ecological garden near Hadassah Neurim’s dormitories. In the coming days, the village’s surfing club will resume its training under the supervision of volunteers from the Hagal Sheli association. We are preparing for an extended stay of our friends from the south.
Last Friday, the village team shared hugs and gave sweet gifts to the village workers and/or their family members whose loved ones were recruited for the war campaign. The meetings were very touching. Families were able to put aside their worries for a few minutes and replace them with a smile.
Students in the 11th and 12th grades returned today. In fact, many of the village's students who had left the village for the Sukkot vacation wanted from the first day of the war to return to the village — to return to face-to-face learning in the classrooms and to be with their friends and the teaching and counseling staff. The second they got back, they asked to help the soldiers of the Home Front Command set up tents at the village’s destruction site, a rescue-training ground for army units called up to fight. We pray that the soldiers will not have to use this knowledge.
Today we will all spend a (hopefully) peaceful Sabbath together for the first time in a long time.
Thank you very much for your concern and support for us in the village and for all the citizens of the State of Israel.