Newsletter, November 2015
What’s happening at ELEM-USA
We are excited about our upcoming Mission to Israel this spring. Participants will be able to see first-hand our transformative work with troubled teens and young adults both in therapeutic environments and on the streets where these youth hang out. Add to that beautiful hotels, great food, destinations that will interest both first-timers and experienced travelers, plenty of time to shop and even a little time to relax and enjoy the air and beauty of the State of Israel! Check ELEM.org for additional information.
Save the date for the 2016 ELEM Gala Benefit Dinner which will be held on Wednesday night, June 8, 2016 at Espace, 635 West 42nd Street. It will be an exciting evening to celebrate, honor and appreciate the community of ELEM supporters!
We have significantly upgraded our social media presence with regular posts on our Facebook page and Twitter feed about ELEM’s work in Israel. Learn about our work by becoming our “friend” on Facebook and become part of our ELEM community! Managing this important process are our student interns. We bid farewell and extend best wishes to Chanah Schnoll who recently graduated from the Business School at Baruch College and is now working in Israel. Welcome to Shani Klein, a Senior in marketing in the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University.
ELEM-USA is seeking individuals who would like to take their concern about troubled teens and young adults in Israel to the next level by joining our Board. Our volunteer leaders meet quarterly and in-between, often get involved in one or more of our committees. Send an email to express your interest to Rabbi Lankin, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping Immigrants from Different Cultures
Israeli society is characterized by cultural diversity and immigrant absorption. Immigrant youth from varying cultural backgrounds often find themselves experiencing additional challenges beyond routine adolescent issues and often lack suitable help. These youth need a culturally-sensitive therapeutic approach, as what works in one culture may be completely inappropriate in another.
ELEM’s Multicultural Field provides counseling and support for immigrant youth, their families and the community.
Present-day unrest on the streets is an additional stressor to at-risk teens in Israel.
I am delighted to extend greetings to you in our quarterly newsletter, edited by Mitchell Slepian and Vice President Lori Gosset. Our first issue in August received a wonderful response both from the online and print editions. If you are receiving this in print, we probably don’t have your email address. Please drop us an email at and we will update our records.
We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and stand with her citizens in the face of unprovoked violence against innocent children and adults. ELEM’s teens and young adults, who often spend their days (and nights) on the streets, feel particularly vulnerable to the unrest. ELEM’s programs across the country continue to play a critical role in the lives of these 25,000 teens, providing emotional security and support.
As the weather is changing at home, I also think about the changing weather in Israel. That part of the Middle East has monsoon weather patterns and, generally, it rains between November and February and can get quite cold in parts of Israel. My thoughts go to the teens who are living on the streets, the teens that ELEM meets and helps. A kind word, a hot cup of coffee or perhaps even a warm coat on a cold, rainy night is often the beginning a relationship between our staff and these teens that helps to get them Off the Streets and On To Life.
Rabbi Dr. Eric M. Lankin, Executive Director
WHAT’S GOING ON IN ISRAEL?
The more time youth from different backgrounds interact with each other, the greater the potential for understanding. Today over 1/3 of Jewish and Arab Israeli youth are overwhelmed by poverty, domestic violence, post-traumatic stress, bullying, racial discrimination and the threat of war. Present-day unrest on the streets is an additional stressor to this vulnerable population.
• There are about 2.5 million youth and children under the age of 18 in Israel, 350,000 of whom are living at various levels of risk;
• Stress affects 560,000 youth in Israel;
• Yearly ELEM meets with tens of thousands of adolescents and provides ongoing treatment to approximately 25,000 of them.
ELEM works with youth from every culture and religion in a challenging multi-cultural environment. Many of our projects have youth from different religions and backgrounds living together, such as our homes for girls. That they are troubled is a common denominator. Also, a recent Jerusalem Post article, “Summer Camps Offer Hope for Peace,” reported that there were three summer camps last summer in Israel that had both Jewish and Arab youth together. These programs fostered dialogue, which cultivates understanding and helps alleviate stress.
Y-ELEM Partners with Kaftor HaAdom to identify violence on the Web
ELEM’s online network Y-ELEM works in cooperation with Kaftor HaAdom, a non-profit organization that identifies violence and abuse online through user reports. The partnership improves youth interventions via social networks and allows ELEM to reach out to troubled and isolated young people in crisis. The Y-ELEM website provides reliable and valuable information, assistance, individual and group counseling online – all while remaining anonymous. One thousand youth reach out each month to ELEM through the Y-ELEM online network.
One of our recent successes is the ability to provide expanded support for victims of sexual abuse through ELEM’s A Real Home - Bayit Amiti project, and by working in cooperation with “Room 4” in Wolfson Hospital; government youth welfare officers; Beit Lin; and other centers for victims of sexual abuse
For Karin Nisimov, growing up was an agonizing experience. She was raised in an abusive, alcoholic home.While still a child, she took to the streets. Vulnerable, she was preyed upon by the worst elements in society. At 12, she moved to a government shelter for high-risk teens. At 18, she was rejected for army service and was devastated.
Karin subsequently shut down and her distrust of adults deepened. ELEM would not give up on her. After many attempts to connect with Karin, she was finally receptive to an ELEM staff member.
Yaron, ELEM’s counselor, provided structure for Karin, helping her to look for housing and work, and most importantly, encouraging her to take responsibility for her future. Today, at age 22, Karin has transformed her life, thanks to ELEM’s ongoing support. After graduating from a special mentoring training program, she works with troubled boys and last year, she was chosen to meet Israel’s then president, Shimon Peres, at the annual presentation of ELEM’s report of its activities. Yaron is still at her side and ELEM continues to help her stay Off the Streets and On To Life.