Neve Michael, the only multidisciplinary children’s village in Israel with a multitude of on-site services, provides refuge and a loving home for children and youth at risk.
Brief History – Neve Michael – Then and Now
A momentous event for the emerging Jewish yishuv in Eretz Yisrael took place in April 1943 with the opening of the first public religious institute for children from the age of 3-6 at Bet Hayeled (A Child’s Home) in Pardes Hanna. Our Home was founded by the Mizrachi Women’s Histadrut Federation of America and the local Hapoel Hamizrachi Operators Council. Initially, the Home absorbed 25 children, among them: 10 children of Hagana recruits, 10 children from Teheran and 5 children who were separated from their families.
Though the facilities had a limited amount of absorption space which couldn’t receive all those children in need of day care and a roof over their heads, there was an overriding sense that a vital and timely step had been taken, the first of its kind in the pre-state yishuv.
The institute’s management group did not spare any efforts to create a safe haven for those first children who were brought through our gates. Lots of thought, love and dedication was invested in every piece of furniture and child’s toy, as well as all the work tools and kitchen utensils. The imposing Home and the garden, fruit trees and ornamental trees surrounding it spread over 5 dunams, which gave the impression of a palace for children immersed in green and flowers.
The Home’s many unique qualities and the strong will of the management and staff offered hope for each child who was separated from his family in those dark years in our history.
Shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel, our Home was visited by Jakob Michael, a prominent Jewish industrialist and philanthropist. He and his wife Emma were enchanted with Beit Hayeled, its pastoral surroundings and mostly by the children who were growing up in a warm, loving and safe environment. They wouldn’t leave the premises without leaving a most generous gift, for which we named our Home for them: the Neve Michael Children’s Home. Now, many years later, the name is still appropriate, both in recognition of our kind benefactor and with regard to the meanings of the Hebrew term “neve” – oasis, haven, and abode. For the many children who passed through our open gates, were nurtured in our Home and came out as vibrant young men and women, these meanings most surely apply.
Located in Pardes Hanna, Israel, Neve Michael truly is a haven, serving at-risk children ages 5-18 years old from all over Israel. Some of these children are brought to Neve Michael’s doorstep at a tender age and under traumatic circumstances. Some have suffered mental, physical, and/or sexual abuse. In many cases, the parents of these children are afflicted with a mental illness or drug and alcohol addictions.
This is where the Children’s Village comes in. The Neve Michael Children’s Village is the only multidisciplinary children’s home in Israel which houses facilities on-site such as Family Homes, a 24-hour Emergency Crisis Center, and the first teen Girls Crisis Center in Israel. Our programs are also on-site, making a daily routine easy to manage.
More importantly, these children come to Neve Michael feeling afraid and alone. We provide Family Homes in the children’s village, which consist of a married couple with their biological children who live with a group of children from the village. We provide a home-like atmosphere for the children, meeting their physical, emotional, therapeutic and educational needs and enabling them to have positive role models as “parents” and to experience living in a family framework.
The housemother or housefather, and National Service girls, are in charge of providing the at-risk children with a functional, daily routine of getting up and ready for school, eating breakfast, making sure they go to the main dining room for a hot lunch, assisting them with their homework, making sure the children go to afternoon extracurricular activities and therapies, preparing dinner and helping them to prepare for bed.