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Jul 22, 2008

Outstanding Organizations: Hakshiva

I posted a couple weeks ago about having shechted a turkey named"Billiam" for some teenage boys I know.
Those boys, and many others like them, are in an organization, located in RBS A, called Hakshiva.

A common problem, not unique to RBS, but perhaps it stands out more in places like RBS because of the high percentage of Olim, is when families make aliya, the children can have a hard time adjusting. Especially if the child is a teenager, or approaching his/her teens, it might be difficult for the kids to adjust and acclimate, make new friends, fit in to schools while overcoming language barriers, and the like. Sometimes these kids do not succeed right away, and end up having difficulties, both academic and social.

The kids end up just hanging around and acting wild in the streets and parks, their situation continuously deteriorating, often because nobody deals with it and assists in getting them back on track.

Hakshiva has seen the need and has stepped up to the plate.

Hakshiva offers three major areas of support:
  1. The Individual Mentoring Program helps kids while problems are small. Kids spend time twice a week with a mentor who really is just an older friend. Mentors give support, and the results speak for themselves.
  2. The Group Mentoring Programs support kids whose struggles have gone a bit further already. Still, the basis is the same: support them, love them, don't judge them, and things just get better.
  3. They also offer parental support.
A representative of Hakshiva once spoke in our shul. He said something very interesting (in response to a question). The problem is not unique to RBS. One can look at any Jewish community around the world and see the problem. In Israel it is rampant and the boys are known as "noshrim" a.k.a. dropouts. One can see them hanging out in downtown Jerusalem, Bnei Braq, and scores of other places. In the US the problem exists as well with kids "dropping out", not having a framework, getting into trouble. Each kid ends up in that situation out of his own individual circumstances, and it is not specifically a RBS problem.

The thing is that it is a bit more acute in RBS and similar places. Because of the aliya issue, the problem is more acute. A child is starting out with a challenge, and if it is not dealt with early on, it often ends up with needing Hakshiva to step in and get involved.

I should add that not every family that makes aliya ends up with his kids falling through the cracks. Plenty of families make aliya, perhaps most of the families who make aliya (but I have no numbers), do so successfully and the kids integrate and interact socially and educationally and succeed.

But some do not. And Hakshiva has really stepped forward and made an impact on the lives of these kids and their families.

So, check out the hakshiva website and get familiar with them. If you have a way to help them - offer tutoring, mentoring, Big Brother, whatever, do so. If you need to use their resources for your own child, please do so. If you can make a donation to them, funds are always vital and I am sure they would appreciate that as well.

Hakshiva is a very important organization operating in RBS. Any other neighborhood that does not have a similar organization, should quickly set one up modelled after Hakshiva and begin dealing with, and not ignoring, their problems.

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