A zula is a place to hang out. It’s also a state of mind. It’s comfortable.
OU Israel’s Pearl and Harold Jacobs Zula Outreach Center began 16 years ago with five kids and a guitar. Its first home was the basement of the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem. It’s still located in a basement, but it has evolved into a safe haven for youth. An estimated 4,000 teens visit The Zula annually. Almost all are from religious homes. They come back numerous times so that the annual number of visits reaches about 24,000.
The Zula provides a supportive environment for religious teens who may not have a clear path in life. They may be struggling with substance abuse. They may not be in school. They may not be living at home. Or they may just be looking for someone to talk to and a place to hang out.
What The Zula Offers
Music and conversation on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. From midnight until close to dawn. There are other activities almost every day of the week. There is a study hall as well as groups for art, music, photography and creative writing.
The staff of about 20 includes social workers, a psychologist, an educational director, musicians, and the guiding spirit, Harel Hetzroni.
The Zula tries to give young people – from ages 14-24 – the tools that enable them to reconnect with society, their family, their community and Jewish tradition. The basis for all activities at The Zula is unconditional love.