Keren’s life did not start in an easy way. As a young child, her family was not able to take care of her and her siblings. For this reason, when she was only four, she and her sisters were placed in the House of Hope in Netanya.
Keren, who is now 26 years old and studies medicine in Italy, explains how the organization changed her life, taking care of all her needs and offering her the tools to become a fulfilled adult.
“Without this place, I don’t know where my life would have ended,” she says. “They gave me all I needed. And I think their work is crucial for children who, like me, cannot be raised at home with their families.”
Established in 1960 by the late Rabbi of Sanz, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, the organization houses 100 girls ages 7-20 in a beautiful facility just a few meters from the beach. All the residents are children whose families lack the ability to raise them. In several instances, the children have endured abuse at the hands of their families.
Keren remembers her first years in the House of Hope with fondness:
“The staff member assigned to my group was really wonderful. She always made sure we would go to school well dressed and with a hairstyle. She was very warm and treated us very nicely.”
While the girls all live in the House, they each attend school at the educational framework that meets their needs. In the afternoon, they receive support for their homework and can attend different activities.
“We had options for many classes, such as dancing, guitar, piano, knitting, sports and swimming,” Keren recalls. “In addition, we would have special trips for every holiday.”
When Keren was 18, House of Hope helped her figure out her next move, offering advice and classes on how to live independently. She is currently finishing the last year of her degree.
“House of Hope did more than just provide for our physical needs,” she says. “They were like parents to us. I have no words to describe their generosity, and all the tools they gave me for life.
Despite her childhood traumas, Keren feels that growing up in House of Hope was a privilege. “It is a truly amazing place with amazing people, working hard every day to help children and make a good life for them.”
This article was written in cooperation with House of Hope. House Of Hope needs donations in order to continue helping girls like Keren. Readers can donate here to make a difference in a young girl’s life.