For most of its children, Yemin Orde Youth Village is the only home they have in Israel.
Founded in 1953, Yemin Orde’s first residents were a few dozen Holocaust orphans. Over the years, the Village has welcomed refugees and immigrant youth from Iran, North Africa, South America, India, Yemen and Eastern Europe.
Today, many of the Village’s youth have left family behind in faraway places such as Ukraine, Brazil, France or Ethiopia. They have arrived on Israeli soil alone, confused and homeless. Others struggle to emerge from broken homes where extreme poverty and joblessness cast an overwhelming darkness on their young lives. About 20% of the children at Yemin Orde are orphans.
In 2002, as part of the Meyah program, Yemin Orde welcomed nine young children from the former Soviet Union who ranged in age from 5 to 13 years old. However, the vast majority of the children at Yemin Orde are teenagers in grades 9-12.
Our youth receive excellent programs and activities that help them heal.
Yemin Orde High School offers a wide range of advanced academic and vocational classes that encourage our children to expect more from themselves, to strive toward high achievements in their studies, and to realistically dream of going on to university and professions in their adult lives.
The children in advanced classes are learning high level material, but as importantly, they are practicing diligence and experiencing the benefits of hard work. Among the academic subjects offering options for advanced (honors-level) classes are Biology, Chemistry, Math, Physics, and English.
In 2013, as a response to rising anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in Europe and, specifically in France, a large number of French Jews arrived in Israel and at Yemin Orde. Today, there are 115 French youth at the Village who are slowly, but surely, integrating into daily life in Israel and at Yemin Orde. Of particular note, these teens must learn a new language, new traditions, make new friends and new methods of learning. Click here to learn more about Yemin Orde’s French youth.
Yemin Orde’s Eco-Farm is an environmentally responsible, educational farm that is truly integrated into the life of the Village. Almost all of our youth spend time at the Eco-Farm, some as part of their agriculture studies and others for school projects, for such extracurricular team-building activities as campfire cooking and outdoor navigation training, or as part of their volunteer community service to the Village. Click here to learn more about Yemin Orde’s Eco-Farm.
Extracurricular Learning—Field Trips and Hikes
At Yemin Orde, a wide range of extracurricular activities impart Jewish and Israeli culture to our children. These activities help our children better identify with the country by connecting them to the land itself in the most physical way, and as importantly, by encouraging them to find their own place in the larger history of the Jewish people. Indeed, beginning in the ninth grade, these activities and field trips include: outings that bring Jewish history and Israeli geography to life; “Israel Journey,” an experience aimed at strengthening the children’s personal, Jewish, and Zionist identities; annual Etgar (Challenge) Hike, trekking nearly 100 kilometers over the course of four days in March.
Therapy at Yemin Orde aims for the emotional well-being of all of the children—i.e., Tikkun Halev (mending the heart). Art, music and dance therapy provides a creative outlet for anger and self-expression. In addition, therapeutic treatment may include individual or group therapy with a social worker, psychologist, or art therapist.
Ten children have received essential orthodontic treatment this school year. We have several aims beyond the therapeutic goal of providing dental treatment to teenagers. Indeed, we place a high value on developing these youngsters’ sense of self-worth and their confidence among their peers.
The Directions Project
This initiative (offering a bridge between the kids’ high school years and their new status as graduates) prepares 11th and 12th graders for their first years following graduation from Yemin Orde. This program has four main components: exposure to post-high school programs; training in life skills needed for gap-year leadership programs (mechinot) and the army; emotional and mental preparation; and individual guidance counseling to help each teen find the program most suited to him or her.
Through a deeply sensitive approach to living and learning, the children’s lives at Yemin Orde are transformed. No longer angry, hungry and alone, the children learn to live in wholeness – healthy, capable and strong.