Ever since I started working in the
Lev LaLev New York office,I have been dreaming of visiting the Rubin Zeffren
Children’s Home and meeting the adorable, sweet, precious girls. A few weeks
ago, my dream finally came true! I had the honor and privilege of staying with
the girls for three extraordinary days! Here is my experience as a first time
When I arrived at the Home, I am
welcomed by many warm and gracious girls.They just knew how to make me feel at
“home”. Many of them rushed over to me with a smile – inquiring if I was a new
girl at the Home. It seems that they were a bit disappointed when I told them
that I was not. I then explained that I am was from Lev LaLev and that I have
traveled all the way from New York to spend time with them. It wasn't easy for
them to hide their excitement.
At the Home I got to see first-hand
what it's like for a girl to live in the Children’s Home. All along I kept
telling the girls how fortunate they are to be in such a warm and loving
environment. Not only that, they were having so much fun! It totally reminded
me of camp. The corridors were filled with girls everywhere, cheering; they are
really full of spunk!
Every morning, the girls wake up at
6:30 AM.They quickly get dressed and hurry down to the dining room for a
healthy breakfast consisting of farina, assorted cheeses, cereal with milk, and
After breakfast the girls hurry back
to their rooms to tidy upand make their beds. One girl sweeps the floor while
another makes sure that all the closets are in order. By the time the girls
leave for school the Home looks immaculate.
Getting so many girls off to school is
no simple feat!There are girls who unfortunately don’t enjoy going to school
(for academic or social reasons). Some of them try to play “hooky” and stay
home. The counselors are patient and speak to them- trying to figure out if
there are serious issues that need to be addressed.
In Israel, school dismissal is really early. At 1:00 PM,
I noticed the first group of girls returning.I stood by and watched them put
down their backpacks and then hurrying to the dining room for lunch. In the
Israeli tradition, lunch is the main meal of the day. Their lunch menu is
equivalent to an American dinner. On this particular day, lunch consisted of
meatballs and spaghetti, breaded chicken and the girls’ favorite - couscous!
After lunch, I hurried to the office
to prepare a game while the girls started their homework, some with the help of
tutors. I quickly observed how the tutors so patiently take time to explain the
assignments and help with time management skills.
At 4:00 PM, exciting activities begin.Since the Activities Director is out on maternity leave, I decided to do
something with the girls. Since I enjoy drawing, I chose to do an art contest.
I handed out a few themes to the girls and they had to come up with the most
creative drawings explaining a particular theme. It was really fun to see what
the girls came up with! Some of their ideas were so original!
By 6:00 PM the girls hurried to take
showers and change into their sleepwear so that they are ready for bedtime as
soon as they finish their night activity.
Dinner at the Home takes place at 7:00
PM; a team of cooks prepare delicious food in the Home's state-of-the-art
kitchen.They do so with a spice of love and affection. They always prepare
nutritious, wholesome and yummy meals. On this particular evening, the girls
enjoyed fresh Falafel. In Israeli pita. After dinner, the girls engage in a fun
activity with their counselors.
Bedtime for the younger girls, ages
5-12, is at 8:30 PM.Older girls go to sleep at 9:45 PM. Putting so many girls
to sleep is quite a job! I watched as the House Mother tucked our dear girls
into bed and gave each one goodnight kisses. It warmed my heart to see them
going off to bed with so much love.
The staff altogether, is so warm and
devoted.It was a pleasure to spend time with the Director of the Home, Bracha
Runes. I was amazed to see how she treats each girl as if she was her own
child. Since some of the girls come from very troubled pasts, they require lots
of attention. Coming from such backgrounds, many of them face difficult
challenges. I observed how the girls come to Bracha complaining about their
many problems. Her patience and love shine through as she cares for and deals
with each girl individually.
I am really honored to have the
position of helping these precious girls build a brighter future and lead
productive lives, together with all our supporters worldwide. My biggest dream
was to visit the Rubin Zeffren Children’s Home. This truly amazing experience
was a dream come true!