Yerushalmim, Young Parents in Jerusalem: Growing with the City, Jerusalem
Large numbers of non-Haredi families with small children are leaving Jerusalem. The social change organization Yerushalmim (Jerusalemites) is working to stem this tide, in part through its new initiative called Young Parents in Jerusalem: Growing with the City. The pioneering initiative, established in August 2009, seeks to increase public awareness of the issues of raising children in the city and upgrade those issues in the city’s agenda. Several factors have contributed towards the flight from the city, including the physical and social infrastructure not being conducive to the needs of young children and the lack of accessibility to nursery schools, family health centers, and other services. The Young Parents in Jerusalem initiative, led by volunteers, has already raised the profile for this interest group among city officials. Future plans include publishing a field survey of public parks in the city, establishing a website that serves as a resource of services for young families in Jerusalem, and formulating recommendations to the municipality and promoting those recommendations through lobbying and public campaigning.
Le’Oro Nelech, Bilingual Website for Student Volunteers, Hebron, Israel
Le’Oro Nelech promotes volunteer activity among high school students. Targum Shlishi supported the development and maintenance of a bilingual website in 2009 and continuing into 2010, with the goal of increasing student volunteerism by reaching a larger audience and encouraging more schools to participate. Already serving thousands of volunteers and potential volunteers throughout Israel, the website will help Le’Oro Nelech to provide practical assistance, advice, and support online for current and future volunteers. The organization believes that volunteering is a tool by which students can develop and reinforce values and leadership qualities, build character, develop sensitivity to others, and generally feel empowered. Le’Oro Nelech was founded in 1989 by the Yeshiva High School of Kiryat Arba in Hebron. Today, the organization works with more than 4,500 volunteers and 90 institutions around Israel, training and supporting students at all stages of the volunteer process. Thousands of hours of volunteer time are logged weekly in the service of those in need throughout the country.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, General Support, Washington, D.C.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy is dedicated to a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous Middle East and believes that American leadership has the ability to bring the world closer to that reality. The Institute’s mission is to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and to promote the policies that secure them. Established in 1985, the Institute’s founders sought to apply scholarship and sound ideas to the formulation of U.S. Middle East policy, and to create policies grounded by inquiry, debate, and research. Targum Shlishi’s founder, Aryeh Rubin, accepted a position as a trustee of the Institute in 2009.
Horfesh Community Learning Center and Field of Dreams, Projects of Kaleidoscope, Lod, Israel
The Horfesh Community Learning Center is a unique initiative in Israel. The center, established in 2004, offers special education services for children in Horfesh, a Druze village located in the Western Galilee. Providing these services to Druze students within their own community is a model of special needs education that doesn’t exist elsewhere in Israel—special education students typically must travel long distances to receive the services they require. In Horfesh, there are 31 special education students and 375 children in the village with learning disabilities and behavioral problems who previously received inadequate services because of the limited resources in the village. The Horfesh Community Learning Center addresses the previously unmet needs of these children and is intended to be a replicable model to be used in Arab and Jewish sectors throughout Israel. Targum Shlishi’s funds were applied to supporting parent/child activities and special events (including a summer institute) as well as the development of a therapeutic gymboree. Field of Dreams is a more recent initiative, established in 2008, in which Kaleidoscope’s workshop approach was combined with sports activities to establish an after-school soccer program for Arab and Jewish children at risk, with the goals of fostering social skills, improving academic performance and promoting tolerance and understanding between Arabs and Jews.