By RUTH BELOFF
Founded more than 70 years ago with hostels for young modern Orthodox women who had come to this country to live and work, Emunah has developed a network of projects and services over the decades that encompasses wide-ranging sectors of the population. From babies to brides, students to seniors, Emunah is dedicated to augmenting the quality of life for the residents of Israel.
And dedicated to helping make that happen is Carole Golding, co-chair of the Jerusalem branch of Emunah.
The former chair of World Emunah, the Irish-born Golding came to Israel 19 years ago from Dublin, armed with a PhD in Jewish studies.
In her capacity as co-chair, along with her two colleagues Renee Becker and Zahava Bazak, she helps plan the programs and activities within the branch, while keeping abreast of what the national organization is doing in the rest of the country as well.
"We are volunteers, but we put in a lot of time," explains Golding. "My day is very full," she says.
And small wonder, as there is such a diverse array of programs to coordinate and oversee.
For starters, there is the education sphere. Emunah operates a network of educational establishments. In Jerusalem, for example, there is the Emunah Torah and Arts High School for girls with exceptional ability in art and music; the Emunah Girls College of Arts and Technology in Baka, which grants a BEd in graphics, arts and drama; Midreshet Emunah in Givat Shapira, where participants come from all over the country to take courses in marriage and family counseling to learn how to facilitate parenting groups; and the Jossi Berger Holocaust Study Center at Emunah College, which organizes two programs a year for the Jerusalem English-speaking community - one on Holocaust Remembrance Day and one on the anniversary of Kristallnacht.
At the same time, committed to helping the weaker members of society, Emunah provides tutoring services to help new immigrants, such as Ethiopian youngsters in high school, keep up with their peers.
At either end of the academic spectrum, Golding asserts that "No girl will be deprived of an education or denied the opportunity to fulfill her potential due to the lack of money."
Similarly, Emunah's 28 daycare centers in Jerusalem and environs, for children from infancy to four years old, subsidize those who can't afford the minimal cost. What's more, the organization raises funds for families in financial distress, says Golding.
For dysfunctional families in domestic distress, Emunah has five children's centers around the country, including in the Jerusalem region, that provide a safe haven for children at risk.
When it comes to children's physical well-being, Golding says that Emunah has implemented a new program to provide schoolchildren with a healthier diet. And parents are being encouraged to follow this program at home as well.
Another group that Emunah has in its sights are brides and grooms. Midreshet Emunah gives courses to train women to be leaders for brides. What's more, Emunah instructors teach Tzohar rabbis how to counsel young men and prepare them for marriage. And to start them off on the right foot, Emunah raises funds to provide young couples with the wherewithal to have a festive wedding and buy the household furnishings they need.
So where does all this funding come from? That is another aspect of Golding's job, she says - to keep an eye on how the fund-raising is going and to find way to encourage more. "We try to raise as much as we can," she says.
In addition to traditional fund-raising events such as the annual dinner - which takes place this year on January 20 at the Ramada Hotel - Emunah stages some very creative cultural events as well. For example, it sponsors a major musical every year, which is generally very popular and well attended. This year, on February 22, the musical of choice is My Fair Lady, which will be performed at the Jerusalem Theater by the Light Opera of the Negev, and a large part of the proceeds will go to Emunah.
Another source of funding, says Golding, comes from individuals who honor a special birthday or anniversary of a loved one by donating money to Emunah in his or her name.
And an invaluable source of help for the organization is that of volunteers. "We are always seeking people to help out," says Golding. Assistance can come in many forms, such as helping Emunah schoolgirls with their homework; tutoring students in English; folding laundry in a group home; helping out at fund-raising events; or providing home hospitality on Shabbat for Emunah's American program for girls with musical and artistic talent, combined with Torah study.
All it takes is a little faith and a lot of goodwill.
Name: Carole Golding
Position: Co-chair of the Jerusalem branch
Organization: Emunah Israel
Address: Rehov Arlosoroff 6
Web site: www.emunah.org.il
Mission statement: Emunah strives to advance the status of women while strengthening the Jewish family. It maintains a professional educational network, provides for the welfare of children and youth at risk, operates family counseling centers, assists in the absorption and integration of immigrants, and runs programs for the elderly. Emunah promotes religious Zionist ideals through volunteering in various communal activities and endeavors to improve the face of Israeli society.
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