Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
The first column I ever wrote was published in the May 1996 issue of The Jewish Observer. My topic, underachieving children and the increased rate of dropouts of boys and girls from our community, was not discussed in polite company at that time.
When I submitted the 4,500-word essay, I honestly had no idea of the impact it would have and the firestorm it would ignite. But I soon discovered the incredible power of the written word. In the first month after the column was published, my wife and I received more than 300 phone calls at home from Jewish parents around the world. Some complimented or critiqued what I had written, but the vast majority of them were just begging for relief from the searing agony they and their at-risk children were experiencing. Clearly a raw nerve had been touched. Soon, I was invited to address the national conventions of both Torah Umesorah and Agudath Israel on the issue of teens at risk. Over the following months, I wrote several follow-up columns on this topic – all of which can now be found on my website.
In September 1997, I requested a meeting with Rabbi Moshe Sherer, the late, dynamic president of Agudath Israel, to explore the possibility of harnessing the resources of Agudah to address this issue. At that time, he was well past retirement age, and was silently battling the ravages of the illness that would shortly take his life. It would have been well within his right to take an extended leave of absence and disconnect his phone. But his dedication to klal Yisrael did not permit him to do so. He took the time to meet with me and took an active role in the founding and growth of Project Y.E.S. over the following months – almost until the week of his petirah.
Project Y.E.S. is special because it evolves with the changing needs of our children. While one-on-one mentoring was an adequate response toward prevention of the at-risk phenomena, much more is needed today.
In 1996, with the encouragement of our gedolim, we began offering jobs to out-of-school teens. Unfortunately, we soon discovered that many of the children simply did not have the skills to hold down a job. So we changed our model to incorporate career counseling and aptitude testing, along with the job placement. In 1999 we developed a professional, all-volunteer teen-mentoring program, utilizing the best practices of several agencies with successful mentoring programs – among them Big Brother/Big Sister of NYC. This has quite literally changed the lives of hundreds of children in our communities, and, according to our teen mentors, improved their own parenting skills as well. The key component of this program is the training and ongoing supervision that our volunteers receive from our experienced mental health professionals.
Over time, we soon came to realize that the parents of at-risk children have as great a need for a “lifeline” as their children. In 2002, using the experience we had gained in the mentoring program, we developed our parent/mentoring program, which provides highly trained volunteers to be one-on-two coaches to parents for a 12-week period. This results in the improvement of the parent/child relationships in hundreds of homes.
In 2005, responding to many requests from parents and educators across North America, we introduced our KESHER School Program. This program provides an on-site clinician to each enrolled school, working exclusively with the teachers and administration – one-on-one – to effectively manage challenged students within the mainstream classroom. In a relatively short time, our KESHER program has added an entirely new dimension to the children’s school experience in more than 25 schools in four states – having already served almost 10,000 children.
We are now exploring diverse and creative uses of the Internet to all who turn to us for help. We have already created:
*An online referral database of all Orthodox private therapists, services and agencies that offer assistance to parents of at-risk teens: The goal is to improve the children’s quality of life and educational success.
*An online registry of all mainstream and alternative yeshiva schools in the U.S. and Israel: You can learn the particulars about any school and share your comments and personal experiences with that school in order to help others in the future.
Additionally, we are now expanding our Internet “People Helping People” program of dynamic parent forums. This allows our participants to pose parenting questions to professionals and lay experts, who bring a broad range of life experiences to our communal discussion.
We are also actively exploring the development of a new “kid-friendly” teen site, where Jewish teens can safely and confidentially interact with volunteers and professionals. Our goal here is for the teens to be provided with sound guidance when seeking our help.
Please take the time now to reserve your seats for Project Y.E.S.’s gala concert – taking place on Sunday, October26 at The Jazz at Lincoln Center. Our first major fundraising event, featuring Avraham Fried and Chazzan Yitzchak Helfgot, will help us continue our lifesaving work. For more information, please visit my website, www.rabbihorowitz.com, e-mail email@example.com, or call 718-758-3131 x106.
About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.
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Today is day six without a phone.
Besides for feeling slightly isolated, it’s not too bad.
I’ve been doing things that I know I would not be doing if my phone was sitting next to me, shiny screen beckoning.
Is anyone else alarmed by the way extended warranties are sold on just about anything and everything? It means one of two things – either someone has found a great way of getting consumers to part with more of their hard earned dollars or manufacturers have no faith in their own products. Neither of those options is particularly heartwarming.
As I described Gaon in a review in June 2001 (“In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon” at Yeshiva University Museum), his Bukharian Jewish roots are deeply embedded on both sides of his family, echoed in his early yeshiva education.
Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
Think of your issues this way: due to those different backgrounds, you have a “shovel” to deal with difficulties while he has a “spoon”.
Do you remember the good old days when kids were kids and there was never anything to worry about? Those days never really existed, but today there are issues kids worry about that weren’t issues for some adults. They include fear of bullying, natural disasters, divorce, and violence.
In Part I talked about celebrating 30 years of Regesh Family and Child Services providing services to children, teens and families. I shared the agency’s origin and the many lessons I have learned through this journey. As I mentioned, it is my hope that my experiences will add to your toolbox of life skills.
Unfortunately, a map of the Middle East with no mention of Israel is nothing new… It is surprising however, that the world’s largest publisher of children’s literature, Scholastic Books, has joined in this trend.
About six months ago my parents and I started discussing ideas for a mitzvah project in honor of my bat mitzvah. I wanted to do something unique that would be meaningful to me and also do something that my friends could participate in. Immediately I thought of an organization called Sharsheret.
“I’m disappointed that the agreement reached with Iran leaves our unfulfilled our ultimate objective: a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and related activities.
Southern NCSY will be holding a leadership training Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour December 6 and December 7. Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, will be the special guest speaker.
Is there a beginning and an end to the universe? What role can medical breakthroughs play in conception or genetic engineering? Can science help us pinpoint the end of human life? Does the soul emanate from the brain or vice-versa?
Last month’s column sketched the myriad of social programs in which the Orthodox American communal worker and leader Adolphus S. Solomons (1826-1910) was involved. Adolphus married Rachel Seixas Phillips (1828-1881), a descendant of colonial patriot families and together they had eight daughters and a son.
Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.
These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.
All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”
Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”
One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz:
We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/project-y-e-s-then-and-now/2008/10/08/
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