Gabi’s parents’ stormy divorce and erratic behavior had left him with no one to care for him, so he was brought to the Neve Michael Children’s Home.
He was ten years old at the time. The divorce had digressed from hostility to a messy custody battle, with neither parent fit to take care of the child. His father was a compulsive gambler and his mother was emotionally unstable. With the legal proceedings underway his mom whisked him off to London. But when the Israeli authorities threatened to notify the English authorities that she had for all intents and purposes kidnapped the child, she panicked and took the next plane home.
After she returned to Israel Gabi’s mother appeared in court, but his father didn’t show up. Shortly after that, his mother suffered a nervous breakdown. With no other family available or willing to take temporary custody, Gabi was turned over to the Welfare Authorities, who promptly brought him to Neve Michael.
All this instability has taken its toll on Gabi, leaving him in a lasting state of self-doubt and insecurity. The only home for him now is Neve Michael, where caring, responsible adults are catering to his needs, educating him and helping him mend the psychological damage that his parents so wrongly caused him.
Since his arrival here, his father showed up for one brief visit, made promises of returning and offering him a “better life,” and hasn’t been seen since. His emotionally unbalanced mother is allowed only short visits with the accompaniment of a social worker.
Gabi recently had his Bar-Mitzvah day along with the other Bnei Mitzvah boys and girls in Neve Michael. Sadly, his father, who told him over the phone that he’s “in a bad way,” didn’t show up for the biggest day of his young life. His mom came with her chaperone and stayed for an hour. For Gabi, the occasion of his Bar-Mitzvah was a mixed blessing, signifying both his separation from his parents and coming of age. And the one stabilizing force in his life that enables him to make this rough transition from a broken home to young manhood is Neve Michael.