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Day 4 Blog

by Nina Richwol

A quietly spoken man stood in front of us. He said that the centre shelters sixteen families. That 260 children attend the school and Daycare Centre, the school have a class for special needs children, a program for teenage girls with emotional problems, a hairdressing training salon, a kitchen and bakery workshop and a sound recording studio teaching students how to record and mix music.

This man was Kobi, Director of the WIZO Rebecca Sieff School and Family Centre in Beit HaKerem near Jerusalem. He explained that the school takes students with behavioural problems and aims to teach life skills so that students can eventually take care of themselves and be ready to join the army.

In the hairdressing salon we stood among wigs, combs and brushes while Chana, the hairdressing instructor, told us that her students volunteer to groom patients in hospital, in nursing homes and disabled people. Chana brought tears to our eyes when she said that her 15-21 year old students, each struggling with their own emotional problems, produce wigs for cancer patients.

A woman full of love for children whose lives have been shaped by neglect and abuse, Chana said her job is to teach these children ‘how to fly, so they can fly by themselves’. She thanked us for helping WIZO provide this magnificent centre that

gives hope and love to young lives.

We then got on the bus for the drive to kibbutz Sde Boker, the home of David Ben Gurion, Israeli’s first Prime Minister. Ben Gurion believed that the Negev, Israel’s southern region, was essential for the country’s scientific research and defence.

We visited his house nestled among Olive and Pine trees, untouched since 1975 and learnt that his active mind needed only three hours of sleep a night and that because of back pain, he was often seen standing on his head.

Next we drove deep into the desert to Mitzpe Ramon passing flocks of black faced goats and Bedouin camps. Our destination was the beautiful Beresheet Hotel built on rugged sandstone cliffs overlooking the Ramon Crater.

After a sumptuous dinner it was an early night for most of us. Tomorrow we’ll see Ibex, lizards and wild goats and learn about Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut. Can’t wait!

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