“It is not incumbent on you to finish the work,
but neither are you free to ignore it”

Talmud, tractate Avot

Strengthening Community Bonds

Community activities benefit over 3,000 children, youth, adults, and seniors in the public housing projects, and in Jerusalem at large. We work together with the residents to foster mutual responsibility, solidarity, and belonging, and to help overcome cyclical poverty.

“The best thing in the world is to do good for someone.” The Admor of Piaseczna

SAHI Gilo Chessed Commando Unit

Twice a week, the neighborhood’s high school youth gather on the streets at night. But things are not as they seem. Under the guidance of volunteers from Beit Yisrael and the SAHI organization, they undertake an important mission: secretly distributing food parcels to their vulnerable neighbors: elderly Holocaust survivors and struggling families. By channeling their energies into their roles as “kindness commandos,” these youth take on responsibility, provide valuable community service, and gain skills, self-confidence, and belief in their ability to succeed and make a positive impact in the world. 

SAHI Gilo is an affiliate of the national SAHI organization run by Amutat Nochach.

In 2020, one of the graduates of the SAHI program, who grew up in the Public Housing Project, established a SAHI group for middle school students. 

In Your Path, Noam

Mechina students and university students from our student villages volunteer weekly with around 50 children and youth. The Beit Yisrael volunteers act as “big brother/big sister” mentors, cultivating a close personal connection through engaging social activities. This initiative is in memory of Noam Enav, a mechina graduate who passed away in 2012.

Matanel "Golden Flower"
Support System for the Elderly

The corona crisis has highlighted more than ever the plight of the neighborhood’s elderly residents, who are lonely and starved for interaction. Beit Yisrael’s volunteers have been visiting and supporting these neighbors for years. Due to increased appeals following the onset of the pandemic, we increased on-the-ground response to their need for food and medication deliveries, and we strengthened our emotional support through a  24/7 hotline through which seniors receive help and support at any time. In cooperation with the Gilo Community Council, we set up a system of weekly one-on-one visits to seniors. Beit Yisrael volunteers meet weekly with senior citizens to keep them company and give them a helping hand.
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Neighborhood events

We coordinate neighborhood events throughout the year to bring together residents and build community spirit. The annual Hanukkah and Purim parties, Passover food distributions, Yom Hazikaron/Yom Haatzmaut ceremony, summer events, and celebration of new IDF recruits have become high points in the calendar that everyone looks forward to. 

Shai Elkayam Soldier Support Committee: Twice a year – at the Yom Haatzma’ut ceremony and at the enlistment celebration in July – a group of neighborhood mothers headed by Smadi Elkayam distributes gifts (Shai means “gift” in Hebrew) to the neighborhood soldiers.  

Community Gardens

One of the challenges in the public housing project neighborhood is the neglected appearance and feel of public spaces. To cultivate community pride and a sense of belonging, Mechinat Beit Yisrael volunteers together with housing project residents planted two community gardens. The gardens bring together neighborhood residents and offer much-needed pleasant green spaces. The garden in housing block 80 has a special story. Neighborhood residents Smadi and Shimon Elkayam planted the garden in memory of their son Shai, who died during his IDF service.

Soldier’s Welfare Committee

A group of mothers who care for soldiers in the community give soldiers gifts twice a year with “Shai from Shai.”—  on Yom Ha’atzmaut and at the neighborhood-wide enlistment celebration in July. 

The initiative is named after the late Shai Elkayan z”l whose mother Smadi leads the group.

Learning and enrichment centers in the neighborhood's schools and kindergartens

Mechina members volunteer at the enrichment centers and one-to-one tutoring programs for children and youth in the kindergartens and seven schools in the neighborhood.

They also volunteer at the nature sites Khirbet Arza and Mitzpeh-Tel.

Beit Yisrael’s Urban Nature Sites

Khirbet Arza: A municipal nature park blooms in Gilo

Once an abandoned archaeological site—considered Gilo’s “backyard,” Khirbet Arza is now the beating heart of the neighborhood.    With the support of the municipality and the Jerusalem Foundation, 5 years ago neighborhood residents, mechina volunteers, and the Gilo Community Council turned the location into a precious green space and vibrant center of community activity.    The site operates as an outdoor classroom, hosting nature programs for schools, community events for families, and workshops and learning opportunities of all kinds. It offers quiet sitting areas, pergolas for shade on sunny days, space for cultural events, outdoor cooking and bonfire spaces, running water and kitchenette, a community library, a small wooded area, and space for musical performances.    Khirbet Arza is a strategic partnership between the Gilo Community Council and Beit Yisrael.  

For details and additional information:

Havat Daat Center for Educational Innovation at Khirbet Arza

In 2021, the Jerusalem Education Authority opened a center for educational development at Khirbet Arza based in Beit Yisrael’s outdoor classroom. The Havat Daat Center [link to FB] offers outdoor education to all the schools in Gilo and trains teachers and principals from across Jerusalem to integrate outdoor education techniques.

Mitzpetel

When Mechinat Beit Yisrael and Student Village members came to Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, they discovered an enchanting hill covered in wildflowers overlooking the Old City, the Dead Sea, the Judean Desert and Gush Etzion. Inspired by Khirbet Arza, the young volunteers went to work excavating and developing the site, creating a vibrant outdoor communal space for family outings, community events, and outdoor learning for local students.  They even trained a group of local school youth to help them take responsibility for maintaining the site.  Mitzpetel grew out of a close partnership with the Armon Hanatziv Community Council and is part of an initiative to develop a neighborhood center that includes a commercial area and a cooperatively owned pub. The name is a play on words. It combines “mitzpe” (outlook point) and “tel” (archaeologic site in which a mound or small hill that has been built up over several centuries of occupation) into a word that sounds like “mitz petel” – raspberry juice – in Hebrew!

Education

Beit Yisrael Kindergartens and Preschool

Beit Yisrael operates three municipal kindergartens and a nursery school where 120 children from ages 1-5 grow, learn, and thrive.  Our unique approach combines principles from three main teachers – Gideon Levin’s free-structure kindergarten, Kibbutz educator Malka Haas’s “kindergarten junkyard,” and Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s attachment-development approach. This integrated model allows for a deep understanding of children’s emotional needs, behaviors, and development while encouraging their natural curiosity and creativity. Beit Yisrael community members, including mechina students, volunteer with the children on a regular basis.
***all rights reserved to kindergartens of Beit Yisrael

For more information and contact details:

Beit Yisrael Elementary School

There are many bird species in the world. There are beautiful feathered birds, songbirds with pleasant voices, and there are birds who purify the air with their flight. It is up to us to live such that in all our interactions we will be birds who purify the air. The Rebbe of Ruzhin
We are building a school where children grow up curious, loving, caring, creative, believing, empathetic, motivated from within, and able to learn independently. Our educational worldview is rooted in the attachment-development approach developed by psychologist Dr. Gordon Newfeld, the Reggio Emilia “100 languages,” and Beit Yisrael’s vision of modern Israeli Chassidut.  Children learn in bright, airy classrooms and cooperative learning studios, and outdoors under the trees.
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For registration, more information and contact details:

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