The Telem High School for Music and Arts was established in 2006 as an option for girls at risk in the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox sectors who could not find their place in the mainstream educational system. The alternative media of music and the arts enables our students to understand, express and ultimately build up their inner selves. We have been blessed with tremendous success in so many ways! In a concrete example of the words of Rav Nachman “If you believe it can be broken, then know that it can also be fixed,” our students undertook a special ceramics project. Using hammers, they broke different pieces of ceramic tiles and then rearranged them to form decorative rings which were used to frame the numbers 1- 10. An additional 40 decorative ceramic circles were also created. This project began in the spring and continued throughout the summer under the warm and professional guidance of our art instructors and Mrs. Dvir, herself a talented artist and educator. With the cooperation of the municipal authorities, the concrete in the park closest to our high school was broken out and removed to allow these circles to be embedded into the space, thereby creating a hop-scotch type play area for the local youths. As one of our students commented, “This work tells our story. We were broken and now we are rebuilding ourselves and becoming beautiful again!” On February 7th, members of the Common Sense family foundation joined us in this visit to the park. Together we then spent the morning meeting the students and staff of the High School for Music and Art and experienced the program first hand. After being guided through the classrooms by the staff who professionally and eagerly responded to the many questions about the education, support, materials and program of the school, we were escorted into the “hangout space.” Since the school serves as a second and in many cases only real home for these students, there is also a “living room” type space in which to “hang.” Here we were treated to food for the body and soul. Homemade soup was served and students in the music major performed both in groups and as soloists. It was truly heartwarming to observe the principal who took the time to accompany the group throughout the morning. She so clearly knew each student and her sensitive approach to them helped us to understand why this school is so successful! While their talent was impressive, their choices in music revealed much more. They sang about being stranded on the streets searching for a safe haven and begging Hashem to bring them home; they sang about the darkness of despair with a hope for a brighter tomorrow; they read poetry that reflected their internal reality, and finally they presented our guests with two magnificent paintings they had done that captured the interplay of music in their lives. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room! We invite all of our friends to let us know when you will be in Israel next. We’d be happy to invite you to one of our programs so that you too can live the Telem experience!