Miriam Ciesler grew up in a small village located in southern Poland, near the Czechoslovakian border. Her parents discovered their Jewish identity after they were married and decided to raise their six children as Jews. Education, music and raising a Jewish family were important elements of Miriam’s life.

Miriam and her family faced anti-Semitism as one of a few Jewish families in her community.  When she was a youth, her family fled their home and moved to another town when a neighbor set fire to their property. Miriam embraced the idea of living in Israel where a better education and a safer Jewish life awaited her.

Miriam arrived at Yemin Orde when she was 14 years of age. Her parents and siblings remained in Poland, confident of the Village’s supportive educational environment. She did not speak a word of Hebrew and attending classes proved to be extremely challenging.

“I remember feeling overwhelmed. I was used to being a good student but since I did not understand anything, everything in school was very hard,” said Miriam.

A safe Jewish home and a quality education

The Village’s guidance counselors provided needed emotional support and Yemin Orde’s educational methodology, called the Village Way, helped to strengthen Miriam’s confidence, Jewish identity and self-esteem.

Eventually, Miriam mastered the Hebrew language and excelled in her studies. With the Village’s help, she also returned to playing the violin, joined the Yemin Orde choir and traveled with them to the United States for performances.

Following high school graduation, Miriam attended a prestigious gap-year leadership program in Jerusalem to strengthen her academic and leadership skills. She served in the Israel Defense Forces as a commander and educator working with new immigrant soldiers.

Today, Miriam is working for Masa Israel as a guide and educator for young people from around the world. She currently lives in Jerusalem and remains connected to staff and friends from Yemin Orde. Her parents relocated to Israel while Miriam was completing her senior year at  Yemin Orde High School.

Miriam has made many meaningful friendships and she is exploring her identity as an Israeli citizen and capable young woman while acquiring a range of new experiences. She remains closely connected to friends and staff at the Village and serves as a role model for younger students.

“Even now, as I come back to the Village, I feel at home. Although it is five years since I graduated, people from the Village call me and continue to encourage me to do my best.”

Click here to read more about our graduates and their stories of success.