As Israel continues to be the epicenter of the world and to explode in a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds, she is compelled to keep up with the fast paced, growing demand of a multi-cultural and diverse society which means that the complex challenges she faces, must be addressed. Migdal Ohr is once again at the forefront of the revolution by supporting over 3,000 children in need of a better home.
Every year, thousands of Israeli children are placed into Children’s residences throughout the country. Today, there are over 10,000 children who are living out of their home environments. This has created a burgeoning need to build infrastructures to cope with the problem. Migdal Ohr offers a fulltime loving home and excellent education to children ranging from the ages of 1-18 years by supporting them in their educational facilities in the city of Migdal Ha’Emek in the North of Israel with over 350 living on campus
From the time Migdal Ohr was established in 1972, it functioned as a standard boarding school/orphanage for boys and girls. Traditionally, the Migdal Ohr style boarding school had a dorm family and each floor has its own dorm counselor. While this format worked well for many years, a new model was piloted in 2015. Following its unprecedented success, the Ministry of Education recently approved the establishment of a new and unique service at Migdal Ohr – a Children’s Residence Framework known as a Mishpachton.
The Mishpachton is an unusual model for residential care. It is headed by a married couple who usually have their own children and together the family unit scaffolds the children as a surrogate family. The Mishpachton is staffed by a social worker who stays in close contact with the biological parents; a psychologist who ensures that various therapies involving art, music, pet, group, etc.—are made available and a teacher who is responsible to ensure each child is prepared for school.
Migdal Ohr’s therapeutic residential facility represents what is for many the first real home they have ever known. Children are provided with complete care of their physical and emotional needs which are provided also by genuine and devoted staff. The nurturing environment, is for many is their first experience of love which translates into their basic needs being met, in the form of regular meals, homework supervision and family excursions; all of which help to create a stable living environment.
Migdal Ohr is rigorous in the selection of the appropriate couples who are carefully chosen according to their educational and therapeutic experience, as well as their personality profiles. They are responsible for caring for all of the children’s physical, emotional, social and educational needs and are required to maintain ongoing contact with the school and to instill discipline and good values into the children.
The children′s daily routine is structured around the family, particularly the home. They eat together as a family, receive separate therapy sessions and attend special events/go on trips as a family.
Currently, there are 2 families living in the Mishpachtonim with 24 students aged 12 – 14 under their care. Following the evident success of this model and urgent need to provide a warm home for many more children at risk, Migdal Ohr is planning to roll out 12 additional Mishpachtonim which will house an additional 144 children ages 12 – 18, bringing the total to 168.
As momentum continues to grow, we invite you, our international partners to join hands with us and partner in this holy and important work. Support Migdal Ohr by purchasing letters in the Torah Scroll that will be written in honor of Rabbi Grossman’s 70th Birthday. The proceeds will go towards building a Children’s Residence for Israeli kids at risk. Click here and help Save a child Change a life.
Jewish Press Staff