web analytics
February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Climbing to the Top: A Story of Strength

Shalom, a Menifa alumnus.

Shalom, a Menifa alumnus.
Photo Credit: Tazpit News Agency

A few years ago, Shalom was wandering the streets of Israel after he was thrown out of his high school for refusing to come to class.  Now – only four years later – Shalom is completing a commander’s course is an elite unit of the Israel Defense Forces and already has dreams to study engineering after he finishes officer’s school. What can Shalom’s complete turn-around - from high school dropout to motivated and disciplined IDF commander – be attributed to?

The answer can be found about a thirty minute drive from Jerusalem, in a special center called “Menifa.”

Menifa- Leverage for Life is a nonprofit organization that was founded in Israel in 2004. The mission of the organization is to prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of high school and to reintegrate detached youth into normative frameworks. Menifa establishes learning centers in existing high schools for teens who are in acute danger of dropping out of school and for those who have already detached from the educational system.  These centers are alternative full-time learning programs for the struggling teens.  Since its establishment, Menifa has operated 130 such programs around Israel.

One of Menifa’s centers lies on a farm approximately thirty minutes away from Jerusalem.  This center accepts boys between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.  Most of them come from broken homes or from families who are in financial straits.  The boys in this program have been involved in either alcohol or drug abuse or other destructive behaviors.  Shalom is one of the boys who came to this center after having no other place to turn to.

Shalom struggled in a regular high school framework.  He was kicked out of school in the 11th grade and he did not know where he would spend the next year, until he received a call from a man named Ariel who introduced himself from the organization Menifa.  Ariel invited Shalom to meet him and learn more about Menifa.

“It turned out to be my best year of school,” Shalom explains. “The staff gave us the freedom to choose what we wanted to learn and how and when. We wanted to come out of choice and out of a desire to take responsibility.”

In addition to the regular academic courses that they are offered, the boys have daily activities that provide them with social and emotional reinforcement and help build their life skills. The boys also clean the center every day and prepare lunch as a group in the kitchen. These group activities help instill in the boys a sense of teamwork and responsibility for oneself and others.

The youth are drawn to the center because of its unique approach that places an emphasis on the staff-student connection and on interpersonal relationships. Every morning, the center’s life coach, Yaniv greets each boy with a giant bear hug, bringing an instant smile to their faces. He calls the boys each morning to wake them up and to make sure they come to the center. He also makes house calls where he visits the boys and meets with their parents to help strengthen the parent-child relationship.

The relationships that the students form with the staff play an important role in their rehabilitation and return to normative functioning. “One of the most powerful experiences for me was the many intimate conversations I had with Ariel [the center’s coordinator] and my life coach from Menifa,” Shalom explains.  “I spoke to them about issues that were bothering me in my life.  I always felt comfortable speaking with them at eye level, without fear that they would react negatively.”

“Before the end of the school year, I had much hesitation whether I should enlist in the IDF immediately or first enroll in a pre-military preparatory academy,” Shalom continues.  “After many deep conversations with Ariel, I decided to enroll in a preparatory academy with two other friends from Menifa.  I believe this was the most important decision I ever made in my life and I have no doubt that Menifa led me to this choice,” he says.

About the Author: Alisa Bodner is a contributor to Tazpit News Agency.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Climbing to the Top: A Story of Strength”

  1. Thank you for covering this story of strength. For more information about Menifa visit our website.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest News Stories
Actor Leonard Nimoy in 1967, who was best known for his role as Mr. Spock in the iconic 1960s television series "Star Trek," passed away at age 83 on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

Actor Leonard Nimoy, 83, “lived long and prospered” but on Friday moved on to explore the Next World.

18,000 Iranian Centrifuges

Iran already has enough centrifuges for a nuclear weapon.

Underground tunnel found near the Egyptian border. Archive photo.

Learning lessons from Protective Edge, Israel is building an underground training field, and will train special units in tunnel warfare.

Israel Nature and Parks Authority Director-General Saul Goldstein at the inauguration of the new Israel Bike Trail's southern segment this week.

The unique desert landscape that covers large parts of Israel allow for its positioning as a leading destination for cyclists, with a comfortable climate year-round and spectacular desert scenery.

Once again al Quds’ Said Arikat used the State Dept. Briefing room to slander Israel with false “facts.”

“If no one is infallible, how is it possible that Netanyahu in his opposition to a potential Iran deal is wrong and you guys are all right?”

US Intelligence Chief Says ISIS ‘low priority’ for Turkey.

Thousands of ultra orthodox Jews attend the wedding of the granddaughter of the rabbi of the ultra orthodox Jewish Kretchnif dynasty in Kiryat Tsanz, Netanya.

Kerry not only is evading Netanyahu but also is trying to upstage him.

House Speaker John Boehner asserts next week’s speech to Congress by Israeli PM Netanyahu won’t hurt US-Israel relations.

Jordan and Israel signed an historic agreement Thursday to implement the Red Sea-Dead Sea rescue pipeline project.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice and US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power will represent the Obama administration at AIPAC next week.

A NYC jury has convicted Al Qaeda’s ‘minister of communications’ on charges connected to the 1998 bombing of a US embassy in East Africa.

Netanyahu to meet with bipartisan congressional leadership before he addresses the joint session of Congress on March 3.

Jihadi John, the British beheader in Daesh-land (Islamic State) has been tentatively identified as Mohammed Emwazi, a Brit, born in Kuwait, who grew up in West London and has a degree in computer programming. His former friends who have identified him, and are positive its him.

An Arab tried to stab an IDF soldier at the Gush Etzion junction on Thursday evening.

More Articles from Alisa Bodner, Tazpit News Agency
Shalom, a Menifa alumnus.

Menifa-Leverage for Life is a nonprofit organization that was founded in Israel in 2004. The mission of the organization is to prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of high school and to reintegrate detached youth into normative frameworks. Since its establishment, Menifa has operated 130 such programs around Israel.

“You have all been through a long and difficult journey,” belted Rafi to the group of twenty-five boys at the end-of-year ceremony for Menifa’s Lech Lecha program in Gilo. “I remember the falls and climbs you each experienced.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/climbing-to-the-top-a-story-of-strength/2012/07/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: