OJC Mitzvah Mission 2016, Day Four

Yoav greeted us at Ahava this morning as family, with all his warmth, sincere care and passion, as if we had just come home after a semester abroad. He enthusiastically described the new projects taking place around the village; in particular, a soccer field where children and their fathers typically play on visiting days, accompanied by coach, social worker and therapist. At other times, groups of children play together, observed by the social worker who will then sit the boys down and process their interactions. Brimming with pride, he shared that Ahava had just been awarded another 5-star rating for the beauty of its facility, and a certificate of recognition for its efficient operation as a nonprofit. And he attributes these successes–at least in part–to our OJC contributions and the unique relationship we share.

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So much life, empowerment and hope in a place potentially filled with so much pain. Mikalah spent last evening partying with girls of Ahava, ages 6 to 17, at an opening event for an initiative called the “Girls Project.” It was a night of music, food, fun, and companionship, celebrating healthy relationships and positive self-image. We met with the class of children beginning the process of study towards bar mitzvah and gave them watches donated to us back home. We delivered beautiful artwork from our own Naaseh/USY kids to our host families.

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And finally, we created another beautiful space (with the assistance of the talented staff) that serves, literally and symbolically, as a place of life, growth, fruition and hope.

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That’s what this place is all about. That’s what we want to be all about. And as we finished the day gazing at Jerusalem, we realized that’s what this land of Israel, at its heart, is all about.

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Laila tov,
Rabbi Craig Scheff

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