Telem runs two high schools, three youth centers, emergency housing and a post-high school “Leaving for Life” program. As a result, there are dozens and dozens of professionals working in different places and at different times. In order to successfully continue with our multi-faceted integrated programming, it is essential that our staff at the very least have an understanding of the full range of available services and preferably have a relationship with staff working in our different settings. In this way there is an easy flow of referrals, follow-up etc.
On motzaei Shabbat Jan. 21st, Telem brought its staff together for a melave malka. Continuing with the concept of being a multi-purpose agency, Telem maximized this evening and incorporated educational, spiritual and social elements, of course with delicious and attractively prepared food befitting a melave malka!
We began with “Voices from the Field” where representatives from each program gave a short presentation on what goes on in their specific program, new developments, recent accomplishments and one story that highlighted their work. Throughout this part of the program one could hear quiet expressions such as, “That’s great to know!” “I’m so glad I have somewhere to refer one of my students!” “I really need to speak to her later to discuss this in depth!” Needless to say, the stories were extremely moving and certainly brought the points home!
Part two of the evening was professional development. As we know, if you don’t move ahead, you move backwards for standing still is in essence backsliding. Dr. Flora Mor, author of the book Seeing the Children: A Guidebook to Creating a Nurturing-Educational Environment for Students at-Risk, psychotherapist and director of the area responsible for developing educational programs for at-risk populations within the educational system for Ashalim under the auspices of the Joint Distribution Committee of Israel, presented a workshop on effective approaches to dealing with our population across inter-disciplinary lines. She was so personable and approachable that the questions and comments began almost immediately! The case study she presented and the interventions we analyzed together were fascinating and certainly helped our staff to reflect on their practices as well as consider potential additional approaches to their work.
Although the hour was already quite late, no Telem program is complete without some inspiring words of Torah. Rabbi Dvir kicked off this part of the evening with a few words that made the parsha relevant to our work and introduced Rav Yisrael Ganz, one of Jerusalem’s leading poskim and a Rosh Yeshiva in Kol Torah, who came out specially to offer his words of wisdom together with a bracha for our continued success.
In this case, our staff truly left with “צידה לדרך” – food for the trip home. We were satiated on a physical, spiritual and intellectual level. Having been re-energized, we again felt ready to face our daily professional challenges armed with new enthusiasm, tools and confidence that we are in fact helping Hashem to make the world a better place and educating each girl according to her specific needs!