The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) along with Emunah, the national religious women’s organization, inaugurated a new “friendship house” at the Neve Michael Children’s Village in Pardess Hanna on Sunday evening.

The new house, which is comprised of two day care centers and renovations totaling some NIS 4 million, will allow for the absorption of additional youth at risk into the Children’s village.

The day care centers at the village house 12 children and two adoptive parents who spend time together in a framework that simulates normal family life.

“I am proud to inaugurate today the structure that allows dozens of children to grow up in day care centers in a homey atmosphere and with a sense that they have a real warm and loving family.

“In the past few years, the IFCJ has been working towards a substantial physical upgrade of orphanages and youth villages so that children removed from their homes, due to difficult circumstances, will be able to grow in optimal surroundings.

We are happy to be a part of this place and a part of the lives of the children growing up here,” said IFCJ founder and president Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

“The smiling faces we see today are the fulfillment of the vision of the IFCJ and its many donors,” he added.

Eckstein, along with IFCJ Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein, MK Orly Levy-Abecassis, Emunah chairwoman Liora Minka and Director of Neve Michael David Friedman, attended the inauguration event.

“The Children’s Village serves as a rescue line and a last resort for girls at risk, and grants them equal opportunities in society and helps them get back into the fold. The Village saves not only these girls, but their families, their environment, and Israeli society as a whole,” said Levy-Abecassis.

The Neve Michael Children’s Village was built in 1940 by Emunah and is one of the largest youth villages in Israel, offering everything from day care centers and schools to a music conservatorium and afterschool activities and therapies, as well as an emergency center for girls.

The staff, comprised of teachers, psychologists and social welfare workers, offers the troubled youth a homey and safe environment.

Today there are some 300 children and youth at risk aged four to 18 living in the village. They were accepted through a social welfare committee or by a court order that evacuated them from an unsafe home environment.

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