|THE PLACE WHERE I BELONG
Analysis of the Ability of the Israeli Educational System of the Modern Orthodox Sector to Provide Support for Religious Olim
Dr. Jackie Goldman
THE PLACE WHERE I BELONG
Analysis of the Ability of the Israeli Educational System of the Modern Orthodox Sector to Provide Support for Religious Olim
Michelle Berkowitz is a ganenet and has taught in many post high school programs in Israel. She has an MA in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University and a BA in Speech Therapy from Queens College.
This is an analysis of the ability of the Israeli Educational System of the modern Orthodox sector to provide support for religious Olim. This is the first half of a two-year project that will culminate in a research directory of schools. Anglo-Saxons making Aliyah face many important decisions when they arrive in Israel. One of the most difficult decisions is on the choice of schools for their children. This is particularly difficult because most Olim parents are unfamiliar with the schools and the school system in Israel. Teenagers of Olim that move to predominately Anglo-Saxon communities exhibit unique risk factors because of the compounding stresses of their pre-adolescent stage combined with stresses of acclimating to a totally new culture. Parents and educators must recognize signs of insecurity and low academic achievement before their children reach the stage of dropping out of school and life in general.
This is the first half of a two-year project that will be a research directory of schools that run programs for parents who are searching for educational/emotional support for the pre-adolescent and adolescent age oleh. Teenagers of Anglo-Saxon olim that move to predominantly Anglo-Saxon communities exhibit unique risk factors because of the compounding stresses of their pre-adolescent stage and acclimating to a totally new culture. These risks include: teens turning to the street, sex, substance and drug abuses, disregard for normal routine and straying from their religious convictions. My methods included interviews with school administrators, health care professionals, teenage olim and their parents. My goal was to investigate whether schools provide programs focused on identifying and supporting Anglo-Saxon teenage olim at risk.
At the end of two years, the report will serve as a resource for Anglo-Saxon olim parents and their teens. It will provide direction in the search for various supports within the school system. These include academic, psychological, social and emotional aids. This directory will be applicable to parents and their teenagers who are exhibiting signs of crises and also for those teens at greater risk simply because they are olim.
It appears that olim who immigrate to predominantly Anglo-Saxon communities are more at risk than those who move to Israeli neighborhoods. These children maintain much of their American culture, which may help initially. However, it also gets in the way of their acclimating into mainstream Israeli society.
Teenagers of olim that move to predominantly Anglo-Saxon communities exhibit unique risk factors because of the compounding stresses of their pre-adolescent stage combined with the stresses of acclimating to a totally new culture. Evidence seems to point to the trend that children who begin their studies pre-aliya and continue in Israel are at greater risk than those who make aliya before the initiation of formal schooling. There is pressure to become proficient in Hebrew. This affects them socially and academically. Instead of their expected carefree teenage years they are shadowed by the impending obligation of army service. There is also the pressure to find their identities and express themselves as Americans in an Israeli culture. These teens must be encouraged and supported in their search for positive ways to assert themselves and helped to attain a sense of control over their changing environments.
Schools and parents can detect early warning signs and work towards preventing children from initiating destructive behaviors. These warning signs may include the following: Poor self esteem, depression, chronic boredom, irritability, eating and sleeping disorders, substance abuse and running away from home. Schools that run programs/workshops and confront these issues provide youths with the means to overcoming these problems. Children meet with greater success when parents and schools work in a concerted effort on their behalf.
Interviews with parents of teenagers, Junior-High and High School administrators, teens, and adults who made aliyah when they were adolescents provided the material for analysis. Educators were asked regarding their interventions and kids and parents were asked about their expectations from the schools. Are the schools fulfilling their promises to provide their students with a complete educational experience? Are the schools meeting the expectations of the students and their parents and are they helping the children meet their personal goals? Adults who made aliya when they were teenagers can give information about how they made the transition from feeling like and American oleh to being an Israeli oleh.
The Place Where I Belong
The Ability of the Israeli Schools to Provide Support for New Religious Olim
By: Michelle Berkowitz
Recently, attention has been paid to the rapidly growing problem of drug and substance abuse among teenagers of Modern Orthodox families who have made Aliyah, particularly including those of Anglo-Saxon background. Parents, school administrators, healthcare professionals, and rabbis are discovering a significant number of teenagers who are failing out of and/or are being expelled from their high schools for failure to meet the standards set for them by their schools. In many cases these youngsters end up on the streets and experimenting with alcohol and drugs. Many adolescents become addicted to dangerous substances and look for other teens with issues similar to their own, to hang out with. It becomes difficult to break out of this circle once the teen finds this perceived secure and comfortable environment.
Parents and educators must recognize signs of insecurity and low academic achievement before their children reach the stage of dropping out of school and life in general. Parents need to know to whom their children are turning for support. They need to search within and outside of the regular educational system for alternative ways to help their children regain self-esteem and opportunities for growth. These parents must help their children find venues in which to discover themselves and their place in society where they can learn to replace rejection and isolation with support and love.
I would like to thank Jackie Goldman for helping and encouraging me. Her listening and organizational skills were important tools in assisting me in clarifying the issues. She is a role model and true educator who could be a valuable resource for teens who need support.
Background and Introduction:
Mechanchim, Mental health practitioners, and Rabbonim met on January 18-19, 1999, at a Conference co-sponsored by Nefesh (The International Network of Orthodox Mental Health care Professionals) and Ohel (Children’s and families services) at the Berkeley Carteret Hotel in Asbury Park, New Jersey. They discussed the escalatory problem of teens in the Orthodox community.
The inspiration for this research project originated when this conference was followed by an ATID conference of similar professionals discussing the same problem here in Israel. It became clear that there is a definable population of teens in the Anglo Saxon community, from normally functioning homes, who are in crisis.
Gamut of “normal” adolescent development:
Jackie Goldman referred to the gamut of “normal” adolescent development in a lecture about “Counseling for Adolescents in Crisis”. She spoke of the development of the proper balance between dependence and independence, and the need to find the equilibrium between separation and individuation with the need for the teen to have boundaries. Teens normally develop physical, sexual, psychosocial, familial and cultural identities as well as a belief system and sense of personal style.
Deviation from normal adolescent development:
There are certain situations that complicate the developmental process. Other non-Aliya related complications may affect the normal pattern of maturation in a teen. The process of Aliya includes many factors that may modify the normal pattern of maturation. These include change of physical environment, school, peer group, and family dynamics. In Israel there is a different kind of fear for ones own safety than the teen is used to from their pre Aliya neighborhood. Before Aliya they may have learned street safety, post Aliya they need to cope with war and terrorism. Teens that make Aliya, must to develop a clear sense of their own culture, because they have switched cultures mid stream. Pre aliya these adolescents were concerned with post high school decisions that included choice of university or career. However, after Aliya these decisions are compounded by the obligations of army service and Sheirut Leumi. Previously existing learning, psychosocial and physical issues, and illness or injury may complicate the adolescent’s process of interaction. Making Aliya, and experience with one or more of the above additional complications may cause a teenager to deviate from the normal pattern of development.
It appears that olim who immigrate to predominantly Anglo-Saxon communities are more at risk than those who move to Israeli neighborhoods. These kids maintain much of their American culture, which may help initially. However, it also impedes their acclimating into mainstream Israeli society. Teenagers of olim that move to predominantly Anglo-Saxon communities exhibit unique risk factors because of the compounding stresses of their pre-adolescent stage combined with the stresses of acclimating to a totally new culture. Evidence seems to point to a greater risk among those who begin their studies pre-aliya and continue in Israel, versus those who make aliya before the initiation of formal schooling. There is pressure to become proficient in Hebrew which affects them socially and academically. Instead of their expected carefree teenage years they are shadowed by the impending obligation of army service. They feel pressured to find their identities and express themselves as Americans in an Israeli culture. These teens must be encouraged and supported in their search for positive ways to assert themselves, and helped to attain a sense of control over their changing environments.
Profile of a Child in Crisis:
The warning signs of a child heading towards crisis can lead to a life crisis if not attended to. Life crises as stated by Professor Joshua Ritchie, Director of MILEV, Center for Crises Counseling can result from any life trauma that temporarily disorients and renders even partial dysfunction in an individual. Many of the teenagers who roam the streets do not attend Yeshivot and/or other schools. They feel isolated from their parents, teachers, and friends. They begin showing a disregard for tzniut dress codes, aggressive behavior, opposition to authority, eating disorders, and disinterest in religious observance and school. Adolescents who have not received appropriate help for organic factors such as Learning Disabilities, and Attention Deficit Disorder feel frustrated and angry. Teens that come from dysfunctional families may not receive adequate support to deal with the challenges of adolescence behavior. These and other factors contribute to a group of high-risk behaviors associated with ‘Children at Risk.’
Meled is an educational institute, directed by Dr. Menachem Gottessman, dedicated to give support to this population. Since the mainstream system failed these kids, Dr. Gottessman created a program and an institute in which they could learn. His main goal was to provide dropouts/thrown outs an opportunity to re-enter the learning environment within a general religious atmosphere. "The teachers are trained to emphasize identity with the school, develop trust with the students, give teens choices, help build self confidence, and get them to study."1
All of these adolescent olim began their high school experience in a regular high school setting, which could not provide essential supports to help them succeed. They felt a lack of emotional, academic, familial, psychosocial, and personal supports. Therefore, the teens created an environment in which they alone could succeed, and from which the teen that had acclimated to the normal high school experience was excluded. These adolescents exhibited some or all of the signs of depression: change in eating habits, low energy, crying, and lack of desire to attend school. Dr. Menachem Gottesman recognized the desire of these teens to feel like they belonged to something, their want to feel supported, and motivation to succeed at learning or in life.
The school’s positive approach, small classes, and relaxed attitude provide a learning haven for needy teens. Menecham, as he is fondly called, has one requirement for his students, which is to be " a talmid min haminyan." Attendance, class participation, minimal homework assignments, and feeling comfortable and good in the school are the only conditions to keep the student in the school. His school is different from other schools because it is student controlled. There is no coercion, rules or regulations. The students decide whether they want to continue or not. Each student has a unique relationship with Menachem, one of the few adults in these teens’ lives who they consistently turn to for advice and support. They understand and appreciate that he accepted them into his school based upon his intuition that "they are good kids and deserve a break". 2
This school is unique on many different levels. It does not solicit students. There is no existing brochure that describes the school. Students usually hear about it via word of mouth, and occasionally a school's guidance counselor may refer a student. Meled accepts students throughout the year. Its educational philosophy is that 95% of the students that apply to the school can be helped. Boys and girls learn in the same building and in separate classes.
MELED’s successes seem to be based on the educational options it provides for its students. There are four tracks from which students may choose to study at Meled. (1)Students may attend classes and take all the bagruyot(state exams), otherwise known as, a teudah meleah. (2) Students may attend classes, complete as many bagruyot as they wish and receive an equivalency diploma for their classroom-based work. (3)Students may attend classes to receive an equivalency diploma without taking a bagruyot. They are expected to strive to achieve the level of the class without the additional pressure of the bagruyot. (4) The adolescent may take a pesek zman (an academic time out) with counsel to help sort through their issues in recognition that these teens have undergone considerable stress. The counselor and student decide together on the length of time off from regular school requirements, after which a new path must be chosen. This path may be the most innovative choice of all.
The students that attend this school have serious issues and the options presented by the four tracks are beneficial because teens perform better when allowed to make their own choices. The school is equipped to deal with teens that are involved on various levels of substance and drug abuse. The students have a Shaat chinuch (homeroom class), once a week, to discuss issues that appear in school. Topics include substance abuse, discipline etc. Each student meets with his/her mechanech (homeroom teacher) two hours a week to discuss personal issues. The school's yoetzet (guidance counselor) is highly qualified and approachable.
Meled provides workshops to foster parent-child communication. The parents, too, have access to the school's yoetzet as a resource. The yoetzet and teachers work closely with Dr. Gottessman to provide the students with a strong support system. As long as students make the necessary effort, Menachem personally embraces their challenges and is dedicated to support his students on the individual and group levels. Menachem acknowledges that with increased funding, Meled could provide necessary support to students with learning disabilities, as well as after school and extra curricular activities (ex. music, computers.)
MELED provides a last chance to teenagers who cannot succeed in a normal high school environment. It is an alternative means by which to obtain a high school education in an accepted system. Dr. Gottessman's program offers self-help skills, support, direction and guidance. Dr. Gottessman's educational philosophy is unique, as he views the high school experience as "just a stepping stone" to either success or failure.
Several parents were interviewed about their expectations and goals for their children during the junior high and high school years. Most parents had some idea about what type of people they would like their children to become. Parents focused on a variety of factors when choosing an appropriate school for their child. These included: religious affiliation, academic standards, extra curricular activities, social circle of friends and special needs programs. Did parents feel that the schools ultimately fulfill these promises?
Many of the parents searched for schools in the Dati Leumi sector to provide a curriculum that was Torani, with a strong emphasis on Tanach, Zionism, good midot, and a strong secular program. Most of the parents wanted their children to have complete bagruyot. Those parents who realized that their children have special needs reported a desire for their children to succeed in school and take as many bagruyot as possible, but emphasized the need for their child to form a strong social circle.
All of the parents said that they wanted their children to befriend other teens with a similar background to theirs. Some of them spoke about the importance of encouraging their children to include adolescents of different socioeconomic backgrounds. Some of their children exclusively socialized with other Anglo-Saxons while others mingled in a mixed Israeli and Anglo crowd. Parents felt that the teens that socialized primarily with other Anglos spoke mostly English in their homes and to each other. Their children may have ranked speaking Hebrew as somewhat easy, but they clearly choose to communicate in their first learned language. Their parents were concerned about full integration and acclimation into Israeli society. They expected the schools to provide and support their children when they were in need. Parents also discussed their concern about younger siblings following in the footsteps of their older brothers and sisters. These younger children were born in Israel or made aliya as early as the gan years. Their native language was Hebrew, but they preferred to socialize with children of other olim to socialization with Israelis. Parents of teens that socialized in a mixed crowd proudly stated that their children were bilingual in all settings.
Several parents defined future goals for their teens but they did not know if their child had ever defined their own goals. Parents who had either spoken with their teens about their goals or felt they had good insight into their children's self perception noted the following four issues as among the most important to their teens: friends, appearance, good grades, and self-confidence. Parents felt that the schools are aware of these important issues but that some schools deal with them more effectively than others.
All of the parents expressed their desire for teachers and administrators to relate and talk to their kids on an academic and personal level. Many parents shared positive stories in which their children had approached teachers with various issues and the administrations responded appropriately. In some cases parents were disappointed with the lack of teaching experience and/or the ability of a teacher to relate to the student. In one situation, special needs of a student were not identified for six years. In the sixth grade, her parents approached the teacher and administration with academic concerns. After a full examination she was diagnosed as dyslexic. "Her teachers had always advised her to read more because her vocabulary had stagnated, and then it was determined that her difficulties stemmed from organic causes."
Some parents expressed concern about Charedi teachers instructing their children. They felt that good relationships developed between the teachers and the teens, but the different hashkafa might confuse the students. They strongly believed that teachers must be capable, academically challenging, and approachable, guiding their students in line with the Hashkafa of the school.
Several parents had transferred their children at least once to another school because their original choice had failed to live up to its expectation. In cases where a child was extremely unhappy in a particular school, parents had searched for a school that better fit their teen's profile. Parents commented that all the adolescents, at this stage of development, were preoccupied with their appearance and search for identity. The teens felt pressured when the school presented them with strict rules of behavior and/or dress. Teachers that continually lectured regarding these issues were avoided and ignored. Parents who switched their children to a different school seemed pleased with their second choice and reported that their children appeared happier and exhibited fewer symptoms of being in crisis (i.e.: appetite, sleep and behavioral disturbances.) Many parents favored finding out what the teens thought about how their school should run.
Teens’ Expectations and Goals
Teens of Anglo-Saxon Olim living in two predominately Anglo-Saxon neighborhoods (Bet Shemesh and Jerusalem) were approached to help gather information about their schools. Male and female teens attending grades six through twelve were glad to contribute their ideas about expectations, goals, and habits for a questionnaire. These kids had made Aliyah with their parents at various ages and grades. They shared their thoughts about: what they would like to accomplish in the future, issues that were important to them, school advantages and disadvantages, peer groups, language preferences, and teacher approachability. The teens gave individual answers, but it became apparent that they thought similarly on many topics.
Junior hHHigh students had a more difficult time expressing their goals for the future than high school students, and their answers varied greatly. In general, most of the junior high responses related to present and immediate issues. Some teens were more directed than others. One girl stated that she would like to go to college, be successful, get a job and ten years from now be either married or engaged. Others focused on speaking Hebrew more fluently. One girl said, "I would like to be able to complete work sheets in Hebrew independently" and "I would like to get more involved with Hebrew books and Hebrew speaking girls." In listing three major goals that she would like to accomplish by the end of high school she included learning Hebrew, reading more books and studying more. Other teens referred to their desire and ability to socialize with others. Another related to leaving junior high and going into high school. She wanted to collect her friends’ addresses so they could keep in touch the following year when they went to different schools.
Teens were asked to rank the following things in order of importance: friends, good grades, general knowledge, self-confidence, and appearance. Friends ranked as the most important, with good grades and self-confidence ranking second. Various responses were given when teens were asked to write the single most important issue in their lives. Parents consistently agreed that appearance was the most pressing issue in their children's lives; however, none of the adolescents ranked appearance as a priority.
Teens were asked about the types of kids they hung around with. Those who had made Aliyah in the last five years mainly socialized with other Anglo-Saxons. Those, who had made Aliyah when they were younger than school age, currently tended to move in mixed crowds of Israelis and Anglo-Saxons. Interestingly, the teens that preferred to socialize with other English speakers were the ones who expressed a desire to improve their Hebrew.
Most teens answered favorably when asked about teacher approachability regarding to help with friendship, academic and personal problems. The students were required to choose one of five choices regarding teacher helpfulness. Teens responded positively to teacher approachability and ranked teachers among the top three levels of helpfulness. Some students felt that teachers would not be helpful in dealing with friendship issues. Several of the students were glad when teachers approached them in the halls or after school to discuss personal matters. They also stated that it is gratifying to receive compliments from teachers during a class.
Junior High school students generally attended schools chosen by their parents. Most teens added that they had heard good things about the school and a lot of their friends went there as well. Even though parents made the final decision they took into account their teens’ requests.
Students wrote freely about their perceptions of the ideal high school. The teens referred to a variety of basic qualities necessary in a good school including level of education, teacher quality, ability to include fun in the educational experience, peer group, and personal comforts. Most of the teens wanted a good education, teachers who were nice, knew how to teach, were interesting, could help them with their problems, and respected their students. They wanted to be inspired and kept interested in the material being taught. They also wanted to have fun learning it. They wanted to have many friends and develop strong lasting relationships. They wanted to make some of the rules and be included as active participants in the learning process. Adolescents felt that everything that transpired in school was the center of their lives.
Anglo-Saxon adult olim who made aliyah when they were young had advice for teen olim. They were asked to remember their past challenges in order to help the teens integrate smoothly into Israeli society. These subjects were in their 30s-40s and had made aliyah at various ages and attended schools in different cities. They came from homogeneous middle-upper class socioeconomic group. The subjects were asked to discuss the demographics of the community in which they grew up, class dynamics, preferred language, peer group, cultural differences, support system, and advice for children who made aliyah as teens. These adults still did not feel that they had completely integrated into Israeli society, but they felt successful.
Many of the adults, who made Aliyah when they were five or younger, felt that they had integrated into Israeli society completely. They had few memories of challenges and transitions from an Anglo culture into an Israeli one. They had moved into communities that were predominately Israeli like Beer Sheva and Rechovot. They remembered being part of a small group of other Anglo-Saxon olim who davened together and lived near one another. They spoke English at home and Hebrew in school with their friends. Their peer groups were mixed Anglos and Israelis. They were aware of the differences between the Anglo and Israeli cultures and they learned to reconcile these differences by playing down the materialistic emphasis often associated with Anglo-Saxons. Their integration was supported at home and they were encouraged to participate in youth movements, school trips and summer camps. They did not feel different from Israelis their age, however, they did feel empathetic towards new olim their age. When new olim turned up at school, they would befriend and help them. They remember being accepted by their Israeli peers somewhere between second and third grade, and identifying themselves as Israelis.
Anglo-Saxon adults who made Aliya when they were teens reflected upon their
integration process. They remembered quite vividly their feelings of being different, and of not fitting in. They recalled trying to master Hebrew as a utilized language after having been taught it for many pre-aliya years. Understanding the teachers’ shiurim and secular instruction recited in Hebrew was too difficult for them. Some of them had gone from being at the top of their classes to the bottom. They remembered the school
administrators and classmates as having been supportive.
Many of the adults described their integration into Israeli society as a process that developed in stages. Teens who made Aliya while in junior high or high school had the hardest time, especially in the beginning. They socialized mostly with Anglos because they felt safe and familiar with them. A less intense stage followed, where the teens began to accept their move instead of fighting it. The subjects related stories about the latter years of high school, and befriending Israeli peers. Going to the army or serving in Sherut Leumi highlighted the third stage and was a turning point. The teens found themselves in situations where they lived mostly with Israelis and were forced to speak Hebrew in order to communicate with colleagues and clients effectively. They felt linked to the nation, and were inspired to become a part of it. They reported that Israelis supported them in their efforts and corrected their language errors. Israelis were sensitive to Anglos who were strong enough to make the effort to integrate and socialize. By this time, those who had made aliya as teens were speaking Hebrew competently and socializing freely with Israelis; studying in University helped strengthen these bonds. Israelis often approached the Anglos for help in their studies, since textbooks and resource information was generally written in English. Though many interviewees preferred their Anglo friends to Israelis, some befriended two or three Israelis, and are now their closest friends.
Going to a new school is scary for anyone; striving for proficiency in
Hebrew only compounded the problem. The adults remembered the first year of
classes in junior high and high school as an educational waste, since they could
not keep up with the rate and complexity of Hebrew spoken in the classroom. Schools did not demand academic achievement from new olim, and provided separate classes to help them prepare for bagruyot. Their classmates attempted to help them. They reported meeting with guidance counselors two or three times a year; however, the olim did not perceive themselves as in need, and did not take these sessions seriously. The new teenage olim mostly rejected the assistance that was offered at this initial stage, feeling too overwhelmed by all the changes going on around them. They spoke English at home and socially, and attempted to get by in school with the little Hebrew they knew. They remembered wanting to remain separate. They liked being American, speaking English, and having American habits. Their parents associated mostly with other Anglo-Saxons and spoke English to them. The teens kept in close contact with families and friends in America. Many remember visiting America quite often after their initial move to Israel. They maintained strong bonds with the culture they left.
Teenage olim were put off by the perception of rudeness and aggressive behavior typical of Israeli society. They wished to associate themselves with courtesy, sophistication and wealth, and believed that their Israeli friends lacked these elements. Anglos are used to a more comfortable lifestyle than Israelis are. They found it difficult to visualize themselves serving in an army. Eventually, the teenagers matured and recognized the similarities and idealistic concerns that they share with Israelis. The more they interfaced with Israeli society, the better the teens acclimated.
Many of the adults who wanted to hold on to their American values and characteristics married Anglo-Saxons and/or moved into communities that are
predominately English speaking like Jerusalem, Ramot, Efrat, Har Nof, Bet Shemesh,
Chashmonaim, and Raanana. These cities provided a refuge for
Anglo-Saxons where they could speak English and live in an environment similar to their native culture. However, this life style may have contributed to lengthening the process of integration.
Adult olim who remember the difficult process of integration gave the following advice to parents of teens who are making Aliyah:
Encourage your children to join youth movements and summer camp
Speak positively about Israel, and place less emphasis on what you miss about America, Canada, England, etc.
Encourage your children to develop and use English and Hebrew appropriately.
Support your teens in finding a balance between their American and Israeli identity.
Refrain from pushing your children into being something that they are not. Children who make aliyah need a lot of comfort and support and they need to know that their parents are there for them.
Keep reminding your child that while the transition is difficult and frustrating, it will get easier. They need to hear why Israel is special. Discuss prior to the move, reasons for making Aliyah.
Invite Israeli families over, and encourage your children to do the same. Children may not hang out and speak Hebrew with Israelis if you do not do so yourselves.
This is the first half of a research Directory of schools that run programs for parents who are searching for educational/emotional support for the pre-adolescent and adolescent age oleh. Teenagers of Anglo-Saxon olim that move to predominantly Anglo-Saxon communities exhibit unique risk factors because of the compounding stresses of their pre-adolescent stage and acclimating to a totally new culture. These risks include: teens turning to the street, inappropriate sexual behavior, substance and drug abuses, disregard for normal routine and straying from their religious convictions (children at risk). The methods used to accumulate data included interviews with school administrators, health care professionals, teenage olim and their parents. Do schools provide their students with programs focused on identifying and supporting Anglo-Saxon teenage olim at risk?
This investigative report will serve as a foundation for resource material intended for Anglo-Saxon olim parents and their teens. It will provide direction in the search for various supports within the school system. These include academic, psychological, social and emotional aids. This directory will be applicable to parents and their teenagers who are exhibiting signs of crises and also for those teens at greater risk simply because they are olim.
MILEV sponsored a symposium on Rabbinic Chaplainry Training and Certification. There were two speakers. The first was Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum MA, M.Ed, ACPE, Certified supervisor Pastoral Education, Director of The Jewish Institute of Pastoral Care. The second was Professor Yisrael Levitz, PhD, Director Neve Graduate Training Program, Director Wexner Program for Professional Development, Yeshiva University Rabbinical School. They spoke about the increasing incidence rate of Orthodox Jews in crisis. They focused their lectures on how rabbis and teachers could be trained to identify and advise congregation members in crisis. They are often the first people outside of the family to be approached by families in distress.
AMIT and Mothers and Fathers Aligned Saving Kids (M.A.S.K.) cosponsored a five lecture series on Children At Risk, Early Identification and Intervention. There were two speakers. The first was David Mandel CEO, Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, Brooklyn N.Y. The second was Dr. David Pelcovitz, Chief Child and Adolescent Psychologist, North Shore University Hospital, Long Island, N.Y. They focused their talks on the Charedi community in New York State. Members of the audience asked questions regarding the relevance of their information to children Anglo Saxon olim. The American professionals claimed that they were not well enough informed about the causes and unique factors affecting Anglo-Saxon teenage olim in Israel to express opinions, however, they were able to answer questions about Children at Risk, intervention and therapy.
Future Goals for this Resource Directory:
To interview principals of schools utilized by the Dati Leumi Sector and to visit the following Jerusalem schools: Jerusalem- Reut, Chorev, Tzviah Dror, and Neve Chana. Bet Shemesh: Orot, Bet Yaakov, and Amit.
To interview parents of Anglo-Saxon teen olim and collect more data relating to parents’ concerns about their children’s integration into Israeli society, and parents’ supports at home and in the community.
To survey teens in order to qualify impressions made from previous questionnaires.
Interview Rachel Sanchez, Director of The Rose Institute.
To interview teens on the street that are in need of support, to gather information about:
School environment in the last school attended/
Home environment before they left for the street/
Causes of their leaving their school/
What they are they looking for/
What could encourage them to return home/
Their future plans and how they plan to accomplish them?