THE NEED

Each year, approximately 50 young men and women graduate from the Israel Youth Village high school. The Village is extremely proud of the fact that, upon graduation, almost 100% of its graduates are inducted into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) where they proudly serve their country for 2 (women) -3 (men) years.

Israel is a small, family-oriented society and army service is often extremely difficult, dangerous and stressful. The IDF tries to allow its soldiers to have home leave as often as possible – usually every other Shabbat. Israeli parents are known to spoil their soldier children – providing good meals, family gatherings, home-baked goodies, laundry service and all the comforts of home plus whatever luxuries they can afford each time their soldier returns from the base or the battlefield.

Many of the Village graduates are living in Israel without their families. Other students come from difficult home circumstances which make it uncomfortable or impossible for them to return to their homes when on army leave. These soldiers, having lived in the Village “cocoon” for 4-6 years, are now faced with life in the “real world” in addition to adjusting to army life. They need to deal with the problems and challenges of renting an apartment, paying utility bills, buying food (the stores are often already closed when they arrive home close to Shabbat) and preparing their own meals. After living in a warm, supportive atmosphere surrounded by their friends, they are suddenly on their own when they most need the warmth and the peer support!