Thu, 03/24/2016 - 7:49am
by Hava Levene, Neve Michael Children’s Village director of public relations
About Neve Michael Children’s Village: Located in Pardes Hanna, Israel, Neve Michael provides a home for 250 children. The majority of the children are victims of mental, physical or sexual abuse; ages range from 4 to 18 years old. Children living there have been removed from their parents’ care by Israel’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Services—usually because of unimaginable traumatic circumstances.
Your generous donation to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Annual Campaign directly and positively impacts the lives of children at Neve Michael.
From Rosh Chodesh Adar to Purim, there are fun activities in Neve Michael Children’s Village. The children are a mosaic of Jewish culture and traditions including Ethiopian, Israeli, Russian, Moroccan, Libyan etc. We try and make sure to encourage the uniqueness of each culture through songs and traditions.
This is a story about “Batya,” who arrived at our Emergency Crisis Center.
A small, frail little girl with long brown hair and sad brown eyes, Batya was just 9-years-old and already a four year victim of sexual molestation by her father. Unfortunately, Batya’s mother is mentally unwell and incapable of protecting her.
Her three younger siblings were taken to foster care, but Batya came to us for therapy, treatment and, most important, for love. In addition, the authorities wanted Batya to be in a protective, healing environment before they questioned her to get enough evidence to convict her father and to send him to jail (which did happen).
Batya wanted to be a princess for Purim and received a costume of a princess dress. But Batya continued to wear the costume even after Purim, especially on days that were “bad” days for her that had painful memories.
Once Batya wore the princess dress it made her feel better and beautiful. The dress was on a chair beside Batya’s bed, always ready when needed. I saw Batya wear the dress so often those first months at the Emergency Crisis Center, even when she played outside on the sports field. Soon after Yom Kippur, Batya ran over to me to tell me that she is so excited because they found a new, good mother for her and she is going there for Shabbat.
After many visits to her new family, Batya came to the director of the Emergency Crisis Center and told her that she doesn’t need the princess dress anymore and that she should wash it and keep it for any new girl that comes to Neve Michael who will need it.
Hava Levene shares this video, with thanks and love to you, from Neve Michael.
To help make a difference in the lives of the children like Batya who will be arriving at Neve Michael tomorrow, next month and next year, please donate to the 2016 Annual Campaign.