In recent months, the Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre in Afula has experienced a surge in referrals from Israeli child services and family courts, prompted by the upheaval caused by the events of October 7 and the subsequent war. These referrals for children aged 8-18 predominantly involve urgent placements as lives have been abruptly disrupted, often without warning. Despite ongoing family dysfunction, it is typically a single unforeseen incident that triggers a crisis.


Many families find themselves in crisis due to tragic circumstances such as loss or trauma, exacerbating existing challenges. The ripple effects of poverty are keenly felt, with parents losing their livelihoods and struggling to provide even the most basic necessities for their children. Such economic hardships can lead to displacement, as families are forced to relocate in search of better opportunities, further destabilizing the lives of the children involved. The urgency of these situations necessitates swift action to accommodate these vulnerable children. Immediate placement is crucial not only for keeping them off the streets but also for providing a welcoming, non-judgmental environment to facilitate their smooth transition.


However, one of the primary challenges in accepting these children on short notice is the difficulty in arranging their enrollment in local schools. Moreover, many of these children exhibit significant educational gaps, particularly in basic literacy skills such as reading and writing. To address these challenges and better support these children, Emunah Afula is undertaking plans to establish a specialized "transition" pop up school on its campus. This initiative aims to provide a tailored educational setting for new arrivals, as well as those temporarily unable to attend mainstream schools due to behavioral or emotional issues. The hope is that Emunah Afula will be able to accept children immediately without delay if needed whilst continuing with their education. With the new classrooms, we are hoping Afula will take in at least 25 additional children who will be placed in permanent school settings within the year.


Each of the two classrooms (elementary and junior high levels) will each be led by a qualified special education teacher, supported by national service volunteers, and overseen by a dedicated youth social worker. Each student will benefit from an individualized educational plan and specialized curriculum, focusing on intensive tutoring, enrichment activities, volunteering opportunities, and therapeutic interventions. This comprehensive approach aims to address their educational and emotional needs while allowing them a period of adjustment before transitioning to mainstream schooling. Anticipating a student population of 20-25 at any given time, by offering a welcoming and non-judgmental educational framework, the transition classroom initiative aims to support these children as they navigate the tumultuous waters of their young lives. Through tailored educational plans, therapeutic interventions, and compassionate guidance, Emunah Afula strives to empower these children to overcome adversity and build brighter futures for themselves.

The Emunah Children’s Centre is committed to the creation and initiation of this program. Indeed, the school has already begun partial operation due to its urgency, despite us still not having raised all the funding.