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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 visitor:

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 fresh fruit.

After breakfast the girls hurry back to their rooms to tidy up and 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!

chava bracha 333.jpgAfter 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!

 

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