Twenty-two Bnei Akiva members will spend a fortnight volunteering at the Emunah children’s home in Afula, northern Israel, on the movement’s Kaytana scheme, now in its third year.
Participants, aged 16 and 17, were chosen from over 100 applicants. They will live on the Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre campus, where they will befriend the children and assist staff with activities and outings.
Before setting out, they attended an information event addressed by British Emunah’s Mindy Wiesenberg, who told them: “I am proud of you for giving up two weeks of your time to help children who come from very different backgrounds to your own. These children cannot live in their own homes because the situation is too difficult.
Either they are dysfunctional or they have been emotionally or physically abused. Some have parents who are addicted to drugs or are in prison. Others have no parents. We also look after those with special needs.
Kaytana’s leaders are Rachel Gaon, 21, and Aaron Wunsh, 20, who will be helped by Hannah Myerson, 19. “It is very different to camp because the emphasis is on learning how to interact with a group of children who may not be initially receptive,” Rachel said. “Our goal is to create the next generation of leaders who will take responsibility for the community.”