Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam knows what disaster looks like. He is no stranger to trauma and utter devastation. Having survived the horrors of the Holocaust, having to live with the worse pain one could imagine of losing not one but 11 children, Rabbi Halberstam chose to save others from trauma. He founded Lev LaLev, (Heart to Heart), an orphanage for girls who have suffered physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.
While Lev La Lev ordinarily provides a warm environment and the opportunity for girls to flourish amongst friends who become like sisters, along with professional therapy, quality education, and a beautiful home- everything changed this week.
It began with one diagnosis of Covid and now ten girls are infected. One of the ten had to be rushed to the hospital and is in the midst of intensive treatment.
While Covid has been a trying time for all of us, children who have been victim to abuse and trauma experience it more intensely. The girls regularly receive individual and group therapy to overcome past trauma. “Sometimes, it can happen that in the middle of the night these girls were taken away from their home by the Welfare Department because they were abused” Director of Development Chavi Weiss explains. “They had nothing when they entered the orphanage.They have no family or possessions.”
This experience, having to be isolated day and night and fearing for the lives of their newfound sisters is both devastating and triggering.
“The girls are scared and nervous… they are bored and think back to their childhood trauma. They remember everything that they have been through and feel more alone than ever. They do not have a mother. They do not have a father. All of the friends who had become like sisters, they cannot spend time with.”
Rabbi Halberstam could no longer care for his own children because they were murdered by Nazi Germany, and the orphanage created a means for him to care for children who are still alive. It was a way for him to take the horrors of the Holocaust and make the world a better place. Currently, for both the founder of Lev La Lev and the girls, the trauma is hitting hard.
This infestation has caused all of the therapeutic progress that this holy organization is making with these girls to come to a grinding halt. But the issue isn’t just a lack of progress. Stopping their daily therapy leads to regression. This means that not only is their progress from the trauma stalled, but many are also slipping back towards where they started. And Lev Lalev needs to proactively respond by providing extra care for their students, physical, mental, and religious support. That is why, in order to save these girls from more pain and suffering, they are asking generous God-fearing people like you for help.
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” – Deuteronomy 10:18
If you want to care for those in dire need and show them that you care and that God cares, now is the time. “We need to keep the girls distracted. While they are alone they are regressing. We do not know how long this will last, but we need your support and your prayers for these girls who deserve to no longer live in pain or suffering,” Weiss shared.
Now we all have an opportunity to demonstrate to these girls that their lives matter. That we love them and want to support them through thick and thin. We can turn this painful trauma into a memory of hope. Lev La Lev is looking to invest in electronics to ensure that their girls can remotely meet with their therapists and have access to speak to others and other educational and entertainment. If you want to be there for them and show them that you care, click here.