Translated from Yisrael Hayom – Israel Today Feb. 21, 2023
Article by Efrat Forscher , Photo by Yehoshua Yosef
Yom Hamishpacha – Family Day
“Special and Experiential Like Nothing Else”: 27 Years Old, Father of 2, and Another 10 Children
For Jonathan, a counselor in the children’s home, these ten children are his. Ever since his second child was born, all the children in his care consider his two (biological) children as their younger brothers. Jonathan: “There are my children, and the children from the children’s home, but it all gets mixed into one big thing. We’re like one big family.”
Jonathan Salhov, is only 27 years old and has two children of his own, but as a counselor in a home for children at risk, he is directly responsible for ten children, whom he considers his children in every respect, and for dozens of older children whom he considers younger brothers. “We’re like one big family,” he says.
Four years ago, he began working as a counselor for the teenagers in the Emunah Achuzat Sarah Children’s Home in Bnei Brak, where some 100 children learn. This is one of five Emunah children’s homes, which accommodate some 800 children and youth at risk, who were removed from their homes by the welfare department or by its recommendation. “For a period after my army service, I was seeking what to do, and I always had a dream to work in a children’s home or to work with challenged youth,” he retells.
As a counselor for the older children, in grades 8-9 when he started out, and who now are already in 11-12th grade, most of whom about to go into the army, Jonathan, among other things, makes sure they do their homework, helps them prepare for exams, and serves as an attentive ear. He advises them on the varied questions and doubts that typify youth of that age, such as unrequited love, army service, failures or success on their road test, and other things.
The Children in the Center
This year, Jonathan became responsible for the center for strengthening family skills, a sort of day care center for elementary school age children, and in this role, is responsible for ten children who attend this center. His home is always open to them.
The center, which was opened last year in cooperation with the Bnei Brak municipality and the welfare agency, provides an after-school framework for the children, which includes various therapies, clubs, activities, tutoring and more, while at the same time working with the parents on empowering and strengthening the parental connection.
In his first year there, he met Shira, and in March 2020, in the height of the first corona quarantine, they got married in a simple minimal wedding. Even as a married couple they continued to live in the children’s village. Two month ago Shira gave birth to their second child, and all the older children attended the brit.
They all, says Jonathan, both the older children and the children in the after-school center, have become quite attached to his children, help take care of them and play with them, and treat them like younger siblings.
“I live and work here, there are my children and the children of the children’s village, but it all gets mixed together into something big, special, and an experience like none other,” he summarized with unconcealed pride.