Exclusive Interview with the Home’s Program Director Bracha Runes
By Chava R. Yelloz
Several weeks ago I had the privilege of seeing Bracha Runes, the Home’s Program Director, in Jerusalem. This was the first time we met for a ‘power lunch’ in Israel’s capital. I usually hop on the bus from the central station and ride the relaxing hour and a half to Netanya. But, this time, our meeting was unique. We chose to sit down in the back room of a busy restaurant, Shteisel’s, on Malchei Yisrael St. in the Geula neighborhood.
Besides being happy to see each other again, we were able to relax as we enjoyed a salmon lunch and spoke about the new programs and services the girls are receiving at the Home. I am always fascinated by how many new ideas and the methodologies used that Bracha shares with me about the girl’s improvement. Our talks are always ‘serious business.’
Starting in mid-November, Bracha told me that the Home now utilizes the services of an in-house animal therapist for the girls who are recommended for such intervention. Ms. Ruchie Gottlieb, the animal therapist, visits the Home bringing the tools of her trade with her: a large cage of guinea pigs. She works with three separate groups, that each has 4 girls. She talks to the girls, teaches them how to play with the guinea pigs, and how to handle them too. This type of therapy has many positive advantages for the girls who desperately need help to open up about their past abuse, neglect or abandonment.
A staff member, Mrs. Ruthy Ben Haim, coordinates the elementary girls’ schedule with their extra curricular needs outside the classroom. She makes room in their busy day for the social worker and animal therapist sessions. Lev LaLev must be proactive and afford these girls the mental help that they need using these innovative methods.
Bracha also mentioned that oftentimes,
the ‘house-sisters’ reach out to help their peers. It is always heart-warming to know
that the less challenged girls have such maternal instincts, embracing
the younger and more vulnerable charges. The fact that many girls have made
such a dramatic turnaround after leaving abusive and neglectful homes is surely
a tribute to the excellent care they receive at the Rubin Zeffren Children's Home, with your help!
The use of guinea pigs, dogs, cats and birds are only part of the sure fire way to boost the girls’ self esteem, allowing them to trust the world around them. Please help Lev LaLev offer this extraordinary and necessary therapy by donating to Lev LaLev’s Animal Therapy.