Olamot provides a home for young religious girls with nowhere else to go.
Every year, scores of young women from across the Haredi community in Israel find themselves ‘out on the street’ with nowhere to go. For some, this is the result of years‘ long tensions with their families. For others, it is often the by-product of severe strains on households, whether financial or otherwise.
Up until now, there was simply no place for these young women to go. Many would bounce around from home to home, or from institution to institution. In the interim, their educational careers and future plans would slowly be forced to the wayside; while their pressing needs for serious treatment, therapy and religious and spiritual guidance would continue to be neglected.
Without immediate intervention, these young women are at risk for a variety of behaviors and situations that could seriously and irreparably jeopardize their futures.
Olamot began over fifteen years ago, with one family, in one Jerusalem apartment. The Finkels had been hearing stories of young women who had had nowhere to go, and eventually decided to do something about it. Between 2001 and 2005, the family was hosting a revolving number of young women in need of emergency accommodation while they figured out their school and living situations. Over time, the family managed to motivate others, and by 2005 had mobilized a network of families around this need. In 2006, “Olamot” (R.A.) was incorporated, along with treatment facilities and a high school. Today, the service has become recognized by both Rabeim and official agencies alike. In 2011, in recognition of our work, the Ministry of Education awarded Olamot’s high school its education prize for excellence.
Olamot works to create small, flexible frameworks that are able to accommodate themselves to the emergencies of life that many of these girls bring with them. At present we run two treatment frameworks for young women, one for ‘hard cases’ requiring serious intervention, the other for young women with less severe emotional trauma. In time, given the formidable educational challenges faced by these young women, we opened our high school, whose rotating curriculum and ‘class-group’ structure has been proving itself each year. Most recently, we inaugurated our halfway house for 18+’s who still require housing before moving on.
Olamot ‘s treatment programs for young women encompass a four-fold vision, geared to improve their lives in the emotional, behavioral, educational and family fronts. Our programs thus include therapy; spiritual and religious instruction based on strong mentoring models; tutoring and vocational guidance (and where relevant, Shidduch counseling) to ensure a safe future; and work alongside families to repair relationships.