Makom Balev, styled after NCSY in the United States, runs 1o youth centers in development towns around the country. The idea is to inspire youth in Israel’s periphery to become the next generation of young leaders.
“A Place in the Heart”
Makom Balev literally means “a place in the heart.” The youth group is geared towards Israeli pre-teens and teens from 6th grade through high school. Its cornerstone is acceptance. Its goal is to reach out to Israeli youth with an open heart and an open mind.
Makom Balev youth encounter Jewish values and heritage, supportive peer groups and opportunities to dream big and reach high. The idea is to instill a sense of belonging, commitment and responsibility.
Support and Guidance
For many youth, Makom Balev is the only place they can turn for emotional support and guidance. For them, Makom Balev is a place to find someone to talk to. It also provides a framework where they can laugh and relax. The staff extends their support through the transition to adulthood, offering guidance for young adults as they enter the army or national service, train for a profession and become adults.
The teens participate in weekly social-educational activities including shabbatonim, tiyulim and leadership projects. As a result of their experiences they learn to take pride in both themselves and their country – and they give back to their communities.
In the year 2000, an OU Youth Center was established in Sderot; some 150 teenagers are members of the clubhouse. The Makom BaLev Project offers a photo-therapy course, in which teens explore and express their emotions through photography. The object of the course is to teach the skills that will enable them to cope with their fears and other emotions that are commonly concealed beneath the surface by residents of Israel’s embattled southern communities. The teenagers who participated in the course photographed and wrote texts to accompany their work, as a means of opening up and sharing their inner world.
We are pleased and proud to present this catalogue of their work.
Nahariya, Chatzor HaGlilit, Netanya, Cholon, Beit Shemesh, Maaleh Adumim, Kiryat Gat, Rehovot, Kiryat Malachi and Sderot.
Dedicated madrichim (counselors) provide hundreds of Makom Balev kids with Jewish values, a sense of responsibility, confidence in their abilities, and self esteem. They generally work with the teens from sixth grade through high school.