British Emunah Trustees’ chair Rochelle Selby got a certificate of thanks at the 70th anniversary celebration of its flagship home, the Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre in Afula, northern Israel.  “I collected the award was on behalf of British Emunah and all of the wonderful women who started our Afula home; those people who took over and those who continue their fantastic welfare work today,” explained Mrs Selby. 

“It was very moving and quite special to see groups of elderly people who had grown up at the home meeting up with others. Some hadn’t seen each other for 50 years. These were children who came without their families because of the Holocaust and before the State of Israel was founded. During the afternoon, they arranged meeting points around the Emunah Afula campus so that ‘children’ who had been there in different years could be reunited.” 

Emunah Afula opened its doors in 1949 (it was formerly the Omen Children’s home) and it became British Emunah’s first major fundraising project under the chairmanship of Ruth Sacks. It has been home to thousands of children over the years with many more attending daily.   

Present at the celebration were Emunah Israel and World Emunah leaders – Chairman Liora Minka, CEO David Hadari, and Emunah Afula Director Yair Daniel. The British Emunah contingent included Trustee Michelle Hirschfield and former Chairman Lilian Brodie. 

Old films showed Dr Pinchas Rothschild, the first Director of Emunah Afula; and there were speeches from past graduates who have gone on to have successful lives. The Mayor of Afula praised the centre’s important role.  Hundreds of people enjoyed a concert by talented young people living at the home or using day services. Rivka Bachar, an Israeli actress who grew up at Emunah Afula, gave a moving presentation. 

Music has been used as a therapeutic tool for seven decades and remains “one of the best ways to communicate with a deeply distressed child.”  Certificates were presented to the social work team and the current maintenance man and cook. 

Addressing the gathering, World Emunah Director Shlomo Kessel, said: “I would like to thank British Emunah and all of our wonderful donors for believing in our children and investing in their lives.  There is no higher return on your investment than the satisfaction than knowing you have broken yet another cycle of distress.” 

Rochelle Selby later said: “It is inspiring to see how Emunah Afula has grown and adapted to the different challenges that children are facing today with so many coming from dysfunctional homes, and having suffered greatly. Above all, is a sense of pride that thanks to the care and expert skills of our dedicated staff we can transform lives, ensuring that each child who is part of the Emunah Afula family can reach his or her potential.”