gpg grants israel

Grants in Israel

Kesher - The Home for Special Families

Kesher - The Home for Special Families

The Kesher organization took the concept of Jewish spiritual guidance — as developed in partnerships between the UJA-Federation of New York Commission on the Jewish People and several NGOs — and developed it for working with families of children with special needs, based on a model of "parents supporting parents."

Thanks to Genesis Philanthropy Group, it became possible to expand the program to Russian-speaking immigrant families of children with special needs. They undoubtedly face a double dose of difficulties due to their immigrant status and the stress of raising a child with special needs. At times like this, a person or family often seeks out a connection to their roots, which can provide much-needed support.

The project offers support to families through a connection to Judaism, via spiritual tools, Jewish culture and the broader society. Families also provide one another with mutual support, as they all face similar issues. The Kesher Jewish spiritual guidance uses deliberately gentle measures that connect each participant to what Judaism means to them, such as childhood memories of Jewish festivals, songs, prayers, ceremonies, etc. This is done through a cultural adaptation to the group and a deep internal connection between people.

The program includes a training course for Russian-speaking parents, where parents guide other parents in the spiritual aspects of community life and the events surrounding the Jewish holidays. The course covers various texts connected to Russian-Jewish culture, regenerates memories of life in the past, and connects participants with both their Jewish and Russian cultures and traditions. The course naturally marks periods in the Jewish calendar connected to the holidays in Israel.

Goals and Objectives

  • Reconnect parents of children with special needs to their Jewish roots and make them feel empowered.
  • Help other parents in the same situation by participating in Kesher's parent-to-parent mentoring activities and bringing in more members of the Russian-speaking community to take part in the course.
  • Break out the isolation in which parents of the children with special needs sometimes find themselves, and build a community which has a common consciousness of its Jewish roots. This target population will find consolation, strength and assistance from the program in general and the shared situation of the participants.

Current Grants

Past Grants