Tamara’s Journey from Iran to Israel

Tamara Shein Shneor, 40, grew up in a difficult family environment in Tehran, Iran, alleviated only by a brief break with relatives in the United States. Her childhood experiences taught her to be self-reliant, and to adapt to language and culture transitions.

As a teenager, Tamara managed to find her way to Israel, alone, in search of a safe haven to call home.

Tamara’s journey of self-discovery and healing started when she was welcomed to Yemin Orde Youth Village, shortly after she arrived in Israel. At Yemin Orde, Tamara faced another new set of language and cultural challenges, as well as a new way of living and learning that would, ultimately, be life-saving and transformative.

“My life changed when I arrived at Yemin Orde,” Tamara said. “I had low self-esteem because I had suffered so much instability as a child. Chaim Peri, who was Yemin Orde Director at that time, believed in me no matter how I behaved.”

Tamara credits the Village’s caring and supportive environment with providing her with the stability, education and confidence needed to build and strengthen her self-esteem.

“I will never forget the moment that I realized that everyone at Yemin Orde believes in me. I could be rude or skipping school, but deep inside I knew I was safe and wanted at the Village. This is a very important feeling for a child, to know that he or she won’t be abandoned because he or she was naughty.”

After high school, Tamara joined the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), serving in a Combat Engineering Unit in the Golan Heights, in northern Israel. Yemin Orde continued emotional and financial support for Tamara during her IDF service and beyond, providing accommodations in the Village as a graduate, and purchasing supplies for her first apartment.

The Village’s Graduate Program provides support – financial and emotional – to its graduates well into adulthood. Additionally, Yemin Orde provides care packages for graduate-soldiers, career guidance, networking opportunities, reunions and a place to hold special events and life cycle celebrations.

Following military service, Tamara studied criminology, psychology and sociology at Bar Ilan University, with the intent to serve in Israel’s Police Force. Today, she is an Investigation Officer with the police force and works in the field of domestic violence.

“I decided to become a police officer in order to give back to society and to serve justice. In my life and work, I am influenced by the people from Yemin Orde in many ways. I have learned to be humble and to have respect for everything: for food, for yourself, for others,” Tamara said. “Today, I am on the other side of where I was as a youth. I am okay because of Chaim Peri and the people at Yemin Orde and how they believed in me.”

Tamara lives in Barkan with her husband and three children.

Click here to read more success stories of Yemin Orde’s graduates.