For a child the magic of a birthday is just as important as the
magic of the Holidays, if not more so, simply because it is their own special
Who remembers their 9th
all, nine is not such a significant number, like perhaps 10 – a double digit,
meaning that you’re really growing up.
for Miri, who arrived in the Rubin-Zeffren Children’s Home last year after her
8th birthday, she will surely remember this first
‘real’ celebration of the day of her birth.
Last year, on a cold and rainy afternoon, Miri arrived at the
Home’s doorstep with a social worker. The welfare department had her transferred right after her
school day from a community about a 30-minute drive away from Netanya. Sadly
each of Miri’s parents was deemed unfit to care for their children. Entering
the Home’s doors wearing a worn out uniform skirt, an old hand-me-down blouse,
and scuffed thin-soled shoes, Miri shivered.
Her sweater was not adequate enough to keep her warm in the winter’s
northern Mediterranean winds.
Although our devoted staff members have seen too many cold and
frightened girls like Miri, they greeted Miri that first afternoon with sensitivity
and care - to
make her transition smooth. After being fed a hot meal and offered a thick
sweater, Miri’s eyes opened wide when she was shown her room. The two
housemates who shared her room welcomed her with smiles, a teddy bear and a
basket of toiletries. Miri's initial fear turned to cautious optimism.
Fast-forward one year, Miri was about to celebrate her 9th
Although she has already enjoyed several of her “
sisters’ ” parties in the past 12 months, she still could not imagine what it would
be like to have her own personal party. Beginning from the moment she woke up,
she realized that she too was unique and her birthday was not forgotten, like
in her past.
First Miri found small gifts wrapped in colorful paper on her
nightstand – they were from her roommates. A bracelet made of hand-strung glass beads in her favorite
pink and purple combination made her smile from ear to ear. Another little gift
bag contained tortoise shell hair barrettes – just what she needed. Even if she
did not receive anything else, it was enough for her. But the day only began!
Her usual nutritious breakfast was not very usual on her
Instead of waiting on line to serve herself, a few of the older girls told her
to sit down at a dining table while they served her.
What a treat! And this was all before 8 AM!
Later that afternoon, the Home’s cook served her favorite dinner
to her and
all the girls - chicken schnitzel,
mashed potatoes and stewed vegetables – real cold weather comfort food. Later,
after the girls prepared for bedtime, that’s when the festivities began.
Like the old adage says,
“A picture is worth 1,000 words.” Enjoy the next couple of thousand…
and all the Home’s birthday girls, thank each and every one of you who
contribute to their special days by sponsoring their parties. These
celebrations will serve as everlasting memories of a happy childhood.