Inspiring stories from the! “TATIANA!”

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Tatiana immigrated to Israel from Kazakhstan together with her mother when she was 11 years-old. She grew up in the city of Ashkelon and dropped out of school when she was 15. Tatiana roamed the streets with no parental guidance as her mother flitted from one personal relationship to another. After serving 12 months in the Israeli Defense Forces and dreaming of a better future, Tatiana moved to Tel Aviv and began working for a cleaning service earning a minimum wage. She eventually settled in Jaffa because of low rent prices and tried to build a home for herself and her partner Rami, who continuously promised to marry and provide for her.

Today Tatiana is raising her children Moti age 9 and Ella age 6 alone. She lives in constant fear that her children will be taken away by the social services because her monthly paycheck of 2,500 NIS together with the supplement to her income provided by the National Insurance Institute hardly covers the bare necessities needed to raise two children.

As of last March with the help of a caring city social worker, Tatiana’s two children have been accepted into the Jaffa Institute’s Moadoniot/ After School Enrichment Program where they receive a hot lunch, homework tutoring, music lessons, and more. The family also receives food packages twice a month delivered to Tatiana’s small apartment from the Institute’s Food Distribution Center. Knowing that her children are cared for until the early evening hours and having the assurance that basic products are available at home helps take substantial worry off Tatiana’s mind. It also enables her to work overtime hours and pursue other employment opportunities which may improve her and her children’s quality of life.


2 thoughts on “Inspiring stories from the! “TATIANA!”

  1. Please read and share about the jaffa institute, this really Midnightrabbi inspiresd the JIM = Jaffa Institute & Midnightrabbi eli goldsmith and all our friends to make a difference!

    Worth reading the February Newsletter 2012
    (1) A word from our Founder and Chairman: Dr. David Portowicz
    2012 at the Jaffa Institute began with a great bang, as 980 of our friends gathered
    together to celebrate the organization entering its 30th year of service at the
    Gala Dinner in Israel. As Chairman of the Jaffa Institute, I felt honored to be surrounded
    by so many supporters at this annual event; friends new and old who share our
    determination to alleviate the widespread poverty present in Jaffa, south Tel Aviv,
    Bat Yam, Rishon LeZion and Bet Shemesh.
    On behalf of the people that we serve, I would like to take this opportunity to
    extend warm thanks to the Jaffa Institute’s generous supporters – without your
    assistance, the Jaffa Institute simply could not provide essential educational, welfare,
    and therapeutic services to the disadvantaged children and families within our community. In 2012, it is my hope, that
    we will continue to work together to provide the children in our care with a brighter future.
    On January 9th the Jaffa Institute celebrated 30 years of service to
    thousands of impoverished children and their families who live in
    Tel Aviv–Jaffa. Based on the premise that educational
    enrichment can provide disadvantaged children with the
    academic tools required to succeed in life, the Jaffa Institute
    established its first after-school activity center in 1982. Over the
    years the services provided by the Jaffa Institute have
    evolved in response to the ever-changing needs of our community.
    As a result, the Jaffa Institute is now a multi-service agency offering 30 programs, including a food distribution center,
    vocational skills courses for adults, emergency shelters, after school activity centers, therapeutic programming, musical
    enrichment and much more.
    The Annual Gala Dinner, which hosted 980 people, took place at the prestigious Avenue Convention Center in Airport
    City. We were delighted to be joined by the Honorees or Yedidei Nefesh – Mr. Conrad and Mrs. Ruth Morris, and Mr.
    Yosef and Mrs. Nurit Bar Natan – as well as the event’s Chairman, Mr Doron Sapir. In addition, guests were treated to
    a fantastic performance by the famous Israeli singer Gidi Gov who played in front of an enraptured audience, as well as
    being entertained by the charming compere, Gil Peretz.
    Thanks to the support of both Israeli and international friends, the Gala Dinner was a great success and raised over
    $500,000 towards the Jaffa Institute’s vital programming.
    (3) Bet Metsuba After School Activity Center for Children with Special
    In January 2012, the second group of 12 children was enrolled into after-school programming at the Jaffa Institute’s
    newest center – the Bet Metsuba After-School Activity Center. Located in the impoverished Hatikvah neighborhood of
    south Tel Aviv, the Center provides after school programming to disadvantaged children from the local area, who suffer
    from a range of emotional, behavioral and attention deficit problems.
    Before beginning activities at the Center, each of the 12 new participants was assessed in order to determine their
    educational and psychological needs. Based on these assessments, individualized plans were established for each child,
    which include suggested therapeutic methods as well as defined goals for improvement.
    At the Center, the children participate in educational, recreational and therapeutic activities in small groups, in order
    to ensure they each receive the personalized attention they need. These activities take place in 30 minute sessions
    as the children struggle to concentrate for long periods and the opportunity for regular ‘time-out’ breaks is therefore
    greatly beneficial. In addition, each of the children receives one-to-one therapy, using a variety of different therapeutic
    methods. The types of therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which seeks to challenge each child’s negative
    thoughts and behaviors while equipping them with effective coping strategies, and art therapy, which provides children
    who struggle to articulate themselves verbally, with an alternative form of expression.
    Omri’s mother suffers from poor mental health and his father is unemployed. He goes to a mainstream elementary
    school but comes to Bet Metsuba after school each day because he suffers from attention deficit disorder.
    Although Omri is very sociable, and is popular among the other children at the Center, he has a tendency to be very
    argumentative and struggles with boundaries and rules. The staff at Bet Metsuba is working very hard to help Omri
    learn to cope with a structured routine; by reinforcing his good behavior with positive feedback, Omri is already
    starting to adhere better to boundaries. Omri also receives psychodrama therapy (therapy through dramatization)
    from a qualified therapist. He greatly enjoys these sessions, which encourage him to use his vivid imagination, and the
    therapist has reported many positive improvements since she started to work with him.
    For more information, please contact Mitch Chupak by email at or by telephone at +972-(0)3-
    There is a shocking reality in Israel today. Among the 208,000
    Holocaust survivors living in the country, many of whom were
    instrumental in the building of the State, over a quarter is living under
    the poverty line. In the Jaffa Institute’s service area alone, it is
    estimated that over 4,000 of the 15,000 Holocaust survivors are
    living in poverty. Although many survivors receive monthly payments
    from Holocaust compensation programs and/or the Israeli
    government, as they have aged and begun to experience increased
    health problems, these payments are no longer sufficient to cover their
    basic needs. Increasingly, the bills for necessary medical care are swallowing their small income, leaving them unable to
    pay for basic living costs such as food, rent and utilities. Indeed, many Holocaust survivors do not eat more than one
    nutritious meal per week.
    In order to combat the widespread hunger and malnutrition present among the Holocaust survivors in our service area,
    the Jaffa Institute’s Food Distribution Center delivers food parcels to impoverished holocaust survivors on a regular
    basis. Each food parcel contains staples such as flour, oil, sugar, and tuna in addition to pasta, canned vegetables,
    and other necessities. The Holocaust survivors are also provided with fresh meat and fish. These food packages are
    delivered to the recipients by private volunteers using their own cars, and by a bus provided by the Dan Bus Company.
    The same volunteers deliver food parcels to the same Holocaust survivors every two weeks, allowing them to build close
    relationships that are valuable not only to the Holocaust survivors, but also to the volunteers.
    In 2012, thanks to a generous donation by Keren L’Yedidut, the Food Distribution Center will increase the number of
    Holocaust survivors on its distribution list, thereby enabling more impoverished individuals to live their lives with dignity.
    For more information, please contact Shalom Portowicz by email at or by telephone at +972-(0)
    3-6803000 .
    On 30th January, nine women graduated from the latest Welfare to
    Wellbeing course. All of the women had been unemployed and
    dependent upon welfare benefits for a long time prior to enrolling
    into the course, and many have been victims of domestic violence
    and subjected to abuse throughout their lives. However, despite their
    traumatic experiences, the women were united in their determination
    to overcome their troubled pasts, and achieve financial self-sufficiency.
    During the four month course, the women participated in vocational training courses, where they learned valuable skills,
    such as paralegal debt-recovery, which are highly desirable in the Israeli job market. They also received psychological
    support and guidance from Welfare to Wellbeing’s social worker; weekly one-to-one sessions helped each woman deal
    with her individual problems and group sessions focused on elevating the women’s self-esteem while effecting positive
    attitudinal changes. During the last month of the course, the job-placement coordinator helped the women to find
    appropriate jobs as receptionists, telemarketers, secretaries and book-keepers.
    At the beginning of the course, many of the women were afraid of the prospect of change, their self-esteem having
    been eroded by a lifetime’s dependence on welfare benefits. Four months later, after intensive skills training and
    psychological support, they all felt prepared to enter the working world and excited to start a new life of self-sufficiency.
    Welfare to Wellbeing has been made possible by the founding support of Janine and Peter Lowy, and the generosity of
    the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.
    My own situation is a good example of the impact of the course. Towards the end of the course, I sent my resume to a
    business. The next day, they invited me to a job interview. I went to the interview and after two hours, they sent me a
    message to say that they had accepted me! It was amazing. That was the first job interview I had had in five years. The
    Welfare to Wellbeing course has restored the self-confidence that I was lacking.
    For more information, please contact Mitch Chupak by email at or by telephone at +972-(0)3-
    This year the Jaffa Institute will be participating in the annual
    Feinstein Foundation Million Dollar Giveaway. Any donations to the Jaffa
    Institute’s Food Programs before April 30th 2012 will be matched by
    Alan Shawn Feinstein, enabling your contribution to help even more needy
    In addition to the Food Distribution Center, the Jaffa Institute also
    provides Hot Meals on a daily basis to over 400 disadvantaged
    children who participate in our programs, as well as delivering 1,000 sandwiches each day to local schools.
    Moreover, this coming Passover, the Jaffa Institute is hosting a Pesach Seder for 500 impoverished Ethiopian
    immigrants in the Bet Shemesh Educational Center’s beautiful new dining hall. For many of these families, this will be
    the first Seder of their lives; an experience never to be forgotten.
    To help the Jaffa Institute in our Fight Against Hunger, click here. Just write “Food” in the memo section and your
    donation will be matched by the Feinstein Challenge.
    For more information about the Jaffa Institute, visit our website at
    You can now follow us on Blogspot, Twitter and Facebook
    Becoming Bar Mitzvah is often the most significant event in a teenage
    boy’s life. It marks the important boundary between childhood and
    adulthood and is generally a time for great joy as well as reflection. Sadly,
    many of the students at the Bet Shemesh Educational Center simply cannot
    afford to celebrate this special occasion because of their families’ financial
    This year, the Bet Shemesh Educational Center seeks to fulfill the dreams
    of its Bar Mitzvah boys. After completing an educational course about the significance of becoming Bar Mitzvah,
    each of the boys will be given a set of teffilin, and a tallit, as well as a small gift in honor of the momentous event.
    They will also have the opportunity to celebrate their special day with their families and friends, when they are all
    treated to a luxuriously catered meal and taken on an exciting field trip. This meaningful day of growth and
    celebration will be unforgettable for our students!
    If you would like to help a Bar Mitzvah boy receive a truly special Bar Mitzvah celebration, please click here or
    contact Yechiel Marcus by e-mail at, or by phone in the United States at 646-280-8329 or in
    Israel at +972-54-4916217 .
    Although the students at the Bet Shemesh Educational
    Center have long benefitted from a beautiful campus conducive
    both to learning and recreational activities, to date they have
    not had access to a comprehensive school library. Research studies
    have shown that access to a quality library with up-to-date
    resources not only increases the reading ability of students,
    but also improves all critical areas of the students’
    vocabulary, spelling and grammar. Furthermore, school libraries
    encourage research and independent learning skills which are vital for succeeding in higher education and valuable
    in future life.
    Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Goldstone Library, named in recognition of the longstanding friendship
    and support of David Goldstone CBE, will soon provide the students at the Center with all the benefits of a modern
    library. It will be an invaluable resource for the students, which will promote deeper learning, enthusiasm for
    reading for pleasure and will give the students an appropriate place to study, research and work on projects.
    Well-stocked with a comprehensive array of reference and fiction books, textbooks, newspapers, English language
    comics and DVDs, as well as a cutting-edge computer station, the library will give the students at the Center
    the opportunity to access the same resources as their counterparts from more privileged backgrounds, thereby
    improving their chances of academic success.
    (8) Stunning New Entrance to Bet Shemesh Educational Center
    Located at the top of a steep hill in Bet Shemesh, the
    entrance to the Bet Shemesh Educational Center
    boasts a breathtaking view of the valley below, spanning
    picturesque moshavim and the rolling hills leading to
    Jerusalem. This entrance is currently being renovated to
    complement the awe-inspiring view it overlooks. Built out of
    marble and Jerusalem stone, the new stairway will be a fitting
    entrance to the stunning state-of-the-art campus at the Center
    and is due to be completed in the next few months.
    We thank Alfred Garfield and his noble organization, the Federation of Jewish Relief Organizations in Great Britain;
    and the Dutch Friends of the Jaffa Institute for their generous support towards making this project a reality.
    For more information, please visit:

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