(photo credit: Joe Yudin)
The Jaffa Institute, which assists Jaffa’s disadvantaged children and their
families, held its annual gala on Sunday night to fund-raise for the
The event, which took place near Ben-Gurion Airport,
included some 900 attendees from different areas of business in Israel and
abroad as well as representatives from NGOs which the institute works
“Our efforts are directed towards those children from slum
communities to make sure that they don’t drop out of school, that they don’t get
in trouble,” director of the institute, Dr. David Portowicz, told The Jerusalem
on Sunday, “We want to relieve pressure from the child and direct his
attention to things that will help him have a better future.”
explained that instead of focusing on one specific area of the child’s life,
like many organization do, his NGO deals with all aspects ranging from health
and nutrition to education.
“I think our greatest strength is that we are
not focused,” Portowicz said, “We the child as a whole. You can’t just
provide food, or just provide help with school. It’s not enough. What
good is it if the child is helped at school but then goes home to poverty and
hunger. You need to address all issues otherwise, the child is left
“I'd rather do a bit of everything than nothing at all. We hold
their hand until they are ready to stand on their own two feet,” he
Children who take part in the Jaffa Institute often come from
homes where siblings have dropped out of the education system, Portowicz
“All they see are negative example and lack examples of what
is necessary to function as good adults,” he said.
Among the children’s
programs, some are also dedicated to empowering their parents.
assist them with vocational training courses and help finding a job as
unemployment is, the Institute says on its website, a long term factor
contributing to child poverty.
Today, some of the graduates of the
Institute who hold college degrees have gone on to work at the different
programs that the organization operates, which Portowicz said, gives hope to
children enrolled in them: “They see the graduates and they think, well if they
grew up and made it, so can we.”
Popular children’s television host Oded
Menashe, who spoke at the gala on Sunday night, said he was deeply touched by
the Jaffa Institute’s activity when he visited the Neve Ofer House, one of the
NGO’s residential facilities for children who were removed from their homes due
to parental incarceration, parental neglect, or abuse: “One boy clung to me and
when I looked deep into his eyes I saw the sadness of a child without parents. I
found it so hard to let go. I understood at that moment that by giving to those
that need help, your own universe expands,” Menashe told the crowd.
the event, the Institute’s guests of honor were awarded for their contributions
to the cause. Dr. Tzipi and Adi Strauss, long time partners of the organization
as well as Beryl and Neil Davis, who have fundraised for the cause in England by
establishing the British Friends of The Jaffa Institute, received the “Yedid
Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, which made a generous gift to the
Institute this year was awarded with the Social Partner award.
did in previous years, the Institute succeeded in raising some NIS 1.5 million
on Sunday night.