Beautiful and talented Eden Nagado, a 17-year-old senior, will commence her 6th year at the Emunah Children’s Center in Afula in September. Eden’s father, an alcoholic, is serving a lengthy sentence in the Be’er Sheva maximum security prison, for domestic violence. Until recently Eden had no contact with her father but with the intervention of the Emunah team, she met him for the first time. The meeting was moving and empowering, and Eden has grown a great deal since then. She is a madricha of a local Bnei Akiva group and an outstanding young lady who has chosen life.
Eden has been learning to play the piano at the Emunah Center since she was 12. She is a very talented player and singer, and recently, with the encouragement of Yair Daniel, the director of the center, Eden has begun to record her own album. She also appears often with the Emunotes, Emunah Afula’s performing choir and dancing troup.
Little Leah was recently brought to Emunah's Neve Michael Children's Emergency Center. She is slight and brittle and the look in those sad dark eyes tells an awful tale. There is a desolate place in her soul emanating through those cheerless eyes, as if someone took the light out of her life.
The circumstances of Leah's arrival at Emunah's Neve Michael are similar to those of so many of our children. She was brought here by Court order after the Welfare authorities determined that her natural parents were no longer capable of raising her in a normal family environment. They were alerted of Leah's plight when the neighbors heard screaming sounds coming from her apartment. The story behind those screams was horrifying. They were made by Leah's mother, who was subjected to regular beatings at the hands of Leah's father. We learned through neighbors that the beatings weren't the worst part, as they would often hear the cry: "no, not my little girl!" ringing down the hallway.
Poor Leah was panic stricken when she had been taken from her home. We asked her if she knew why she was brought to us, and she said in a small voice that broke our hearts: "Is it because my daddy was touching me?"
Since her arrival Leah has gone through a most painful transition. Slowly, she is coming to understand that her parents are no longer the main figures in her life. That role has been passed on to the caring folks at our Children's Home, who Leah is now turning to with trusting eyes and depending on to take care of her.
The housemother at our children's dormitory is heartened by the sight of Leah sitting with the other children to eat her meals without coaxing. Her appetite has come back, along with the color in her cheeks. Of late, she has even rewarded our housemother with hugs, and she is smiling more every day.
There are different ways of touching a little girl. One leaves a scar for life. The other is that special human touch that we give so tenderly at Emunah's Neve Michael. It brings our children hope, reassurance, and restores the joy that was taken from their childhood.
At the end of October 2009, 15 year old Revital arrived at the doorstep of the first Teen Age Girls’ Crisis Center in Israel, housed at Emunah’s Neve Michael Children’s Village. Revital was accompanied by a police officer and a social worker after being dragged from the streets of Jerusalem.
After many hours of therapy, the professional staff at Neve Michael's, discovered that Revital had been sexually abused when she was 5 years old by a family member, who is now deceased. Unfortunetly, Revital’s family was not able to prevent the subsequent deterioration in their daughter’s life.
Revital spent 5 and a half months at the Crisis Center and was then placed with a foster family in the north, who specializes in caring for girls-at-risk. Though she is living with the family, she receives professional support from time to time, from the Neve Michael staff. Recently, Revital was reunited with her older sister, although the rest of her family have entirely cut her off.