This heading is the motto of the Shanti House (Beit Shanti) in Israel; never look back just look forward with hope and pride.
The sanskrit word shanti means peace. It is a common word used in Buddhist mantras and closing of Buddhist ceremonies and prayers.
And that is the name that was chosen for two Bet HaShanti Kimaro House in Israel, one in Tel Aviv and one in the Southern Negev region, established to bring peace of mind and hope to Israeli – whether Jewish, Christian or Moslem – youth who encountered ill fate; warm homes for troubled, at risk and delinquent youths.
Shanti House: Helping Homeless Youth in Israel – www.Houseless.org
How difficult it is to fathom, there are14,000 teenagers living on the street in Israel, some came to believe they should be sorry they were born and being alive is their fault. What Jewish parent will allow this to happen?
But not all is lost.
The first house was established in 1984, in Tel Aviv by (Miriam) Maryuma Klein, a vivacious, full of love, dynamic and devoted woman, who was a victim of similar misfortune, which makes her an expert in the field. She knows what is needed to turn the youth at risk around. Opened 24/7 for the needy, Shanti House is the only place in Israel that takes in more than one thousand youths each year without having to pass an acceptance committee. This angelical woman started this project with her husband by giving meals to the needy in Neveh Tzedek, a neighborhood is south Tel Aviv that then was the narcotics center of Israel.
The Desert Shanti Youth Village in the Negev was opened in 2009, contributing to Ben Gurion’s dream to settle the Negev. There the range of therapy tools is broader and even more effective. (http://www.shanti.org.il/)
Maryuma’s own life experience made her believe that there should be another than the conventional ways to help to take youth off the streets in Israel.
The method is unique. It is the ability to create a new family and cause the youth to want to have a family again. You have to choose to live in the House and to make the change. And the youths know that if they do not choose the path to help themselves no one can and will do it for them.
What Maryuma’s institute offers is much patience, warmth, optimism and hope. The Shanti House gives youth at risk a new beginning with the tools to think differently and stop being victimized. First they can be children again with the commitment to become responsible adult as they mature. They are given the opportunity to open a new page in their life and allow their dreams, goals and for happiness to come true.
If many of the youth did not have the Shanti House roof over their head in all likelihood they could have been dead, physically or mentally.
Shanti House instill in the youth it harbors security and peace of mind and the ability to slowly step into society and become part of society in every aspect.
In Shanti House life begins again; the past is not part of the future. Only positive thinking because the House is the last step before the youth ends up on the street, living a life of crime, prostitution and narcotics with no way of return.
The results are astonishing. 78% of the youths who have passed through Shanti House integrate, successfully, into society, which is an unprecedented phenomenon by international standard. For that, in 2000, Maryuma has received the President Badge of Appreciations for Volunteer Work.
Until today, Shanti House rescued thousands of youth and helps more than 16,000 street youth in Israel whose life is in constant danger. A continuous journey of love and giving to create a future for those who cannot see they have any future. But more so, for the future of Israel.
I had the honor to attend the first fundraising for Shanti House at the home of Sary and Yechiel Yogev now heading the Los Angeles Friends of Shanti House.
The annual budget of the institute is $2.2 million, of which the government of Israel funds approximately half and the other half comes from donations. And who will not see it imperative to help?
It is against the grain of Judaism to have hungry children, but reality tells a different story.
Shanti House is an institution where the walls hug you but do not feel sorry for you, a house a mercy not pity.
This is a story about the children we did not lose because of Shanti House. Please reach deep into your pocket and help save lives.
This is a story about youth we did not lose because of Shanti House in Israel. Help will save lives.
Tel.: +972-3-510-3339 | e-mail: [email protected]