Newletter Spring 2015

The Village Honors Judy Segal

The Village was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for Judy Segal on the occasion of her work anniversary, 35 years; wedding anniversary, 50 years; birthday, 70 years!

Donations flowed in and Judy's Dream - a residence for Lone Soldiers who are graduates of the Village - is now closer to being fulfilled. A dinner was held at the Village in Judy's honor. Close to 200 family, friends and colleagues filled the over-sized dining room to capacity and all stops were pulled out by the students, faculty and staff. View an illustrated de
scription of the event.

Director Pini Cohen greeted the guests, praised Judy's devotion to the Village and announced that the donations had exceeded all expectations. (View list of Donors.)

Rabbi Benjy Segal, Judy's husband of 50 years, talked about his wife's boundless energy, versatility and love for her family, friends and work. Also invited to extend their love and best wishes were Judy’s children and the many beloved grandchildren.

The Village students then launched an extravaganza that amazed and delighted everyone present. The orchestra was in top form and the soloists were magical. The very talented Village dance group put on a superb display of traditional Israeli dancing and social dancing which has become very popular in Israel. The evening ended with Israeli dancing for all. Almost everyone, family, friends and staff leaped to their feet and encircled Judy with love and appreciation. 

Judy's Dream - A Residence For Lone Soldiers

Each year the Village graduates approximately 150 young men and women and almost all are inducted into the IDF, many as Lone Soldiers. Most of these graduates are quickly able to find their own accommodation and settle down to independent living.
For some, because of unique circumstances, living becomes overwhelming. This is often the case for those who enter elite units where there is intense training and little time off.

The Lone Soldier’s Residence will provide a room, kitchen, laundry facilities and a trained counselor. The soldiers will be able to focus on army life without the additional worries of ‘survival’ when on leave. As it is for most Israeli-born soldiers, leave will be a time of relaxation and unwinding without all the problems and challenges of independent living.

View a list of people who have most kindly donated to this wonderful project. Consider donating in honor or in memory of a loved one, or to commemorate a special celebration. To add your name to our list of donors or to increase your contribution, either follow this link or donate on-line via Paypal by clicking on  the 'heart' in the column on the side bar. We can also supply information about special plaques, naming opportunities and endowments.
Contact  for more details.

French School Doubles Number of Students

Camille, deputy head teacher of the Village French School described the anxiety among the students on 9 January 2015. News spread quickly about the terrorist attack on the Hypercacher Kosher Supermarket. On that day, our children anxiously awaited news of parents, relatives and friends. Days later, a contingent of students comforted mourners who came to attend the funerals of the victims in Israel. The school held a memorial service and many students spoke about their fears for family left behind and their own encounters with anti- Semitism. They also shared expressions of relief and gratitude for being able to find refuge amidst a Village that understands the needs of young people and has created a home away from home for them.

Camille said that last year the number of French students attending school at the Village reached 80. This year the number had almost doubled. We urgently need your help to ensure that every child who needs a place to stay, has one.

Gadna For All - A Model of Integration

If you ask an Israeli 10th grader what he/she is looking forward to in 11th grade, most will respond, “Gadna!” Gadna is an army orientation program for Israeli teens where they gain an inside view of the army. While living on an army base, students learn about the history and culture of the IDF, and join in army training exercises. The program lasts for one week and is a rite of passage.

Now, ask any parent of a child with severe autism what is missing in their lives and the lives of their children.  They will tell you how hard it is to be excluded; to always be on a different track.  Avichai Rivlin, Director of Magshimim, the program for children with autism here at the Village, believes that the students on his program should be included wherever possible. Therefore, a group of Magshimim 11th graders joined 11th graders from the main school and together they spent a week at the Gadna Program. Magshimim students were thrilled to be in uniform, to participate in the drills and camp out in tents.  Avichai is determined that his students will meet and overcome many of the challenges to their lives, rather than always avoiding difficult adjustments. The philosophy of integration, the unique on-campus location of the Magshimim School and excellent results mean that the school has a huge waiting list. Currently the program can only accommodate 35 students. We want to grow so that more children with autism can benefit.

Art on Display

The Village was proud to hold an art display of students' works. The arts and all extra-curricula activities are taken very seriously. Students are encouraged to explore and develop their talents. The art show represented the best of the students’ works this term and visitors to the show were impressed by the quality and originality of the paintings on display. Many Village graduates now work in visual arts and our alumni include architects, graphic designers, photographers and more....

THE FIRST GRADUATING CLASS OF HAR-EL.With much excitement, the first class of Har-el, our unique army Mechina program, graduated last month. The six month course is geared to high school graduates from Israel’s Youth Villages who were originally from countries that made up the former Soviet Union.

The program prepares the participants for army service by ensuring
that they are physically and mentally ready and also knowledgeable about their options once inducted into the IDF. The program also offers a head-start on the Netiv conversion process. Many ‘olim’ from the former Soviet Union are not recognized as Jewish by the rabbinate and undergo a conversion course, ‘Netiv,’ as part of their army service. This course can conflict with other army courses. Therefore Harel covers much of the program before the army, a huge benefit for these young men and women who want to excel in their army service. Most importantly, this program provides our young students with the opportunity to learn about their own rich, Jewish heritage. They then graduate the program with a new confidence. A highlight of the program came just before graduation when the group met with Natan Sharansky. Sharansky shared his story and answered many questions. He is an  excellent role model for all Israelis and especially for our students.

All the young students of this year’s class have been accepted to elite combat units and we look forward to many more annual graduations. We are proud to be training future leaders of the community.  To support our Har-el program and to receive regular updates, contact


February 2015 was a strange month for weather in Jerusalem. The month started with a dust storm. The air was heavy with Saharan sand that covered the cars, the streets and sneaked into the students' residents demanding a huge cleaning effort. Then came the wind and rain - quite welcome as it washed away the dust. Finally on February 19th and 20th Jerusalem was hit by a 'winter storm' that had traveled across the eastern Mediterranean. For one day, the Village children tobogganed, built snow men and threw snowballs. Alas, the snow had almost entirely melted by Sunday.