On Sunday April 15th, I had the pleasure of visiting WIZO's Nachlat Yehuda Youth Village, alongside Sion Cherem from Miami, Florida who is in Israel on a Young Judea gap year program.
Upon arrival, Galit, the senior administrative assistant, and two students, as well as Doron who runs the Fire and Safety Cadet Track, warmly greeted us.
Walking through the agro-eco gardens on a bright and sunny day, we saw strawberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and hot peppers that were growing in the garden and inside the greenhouse. We then met with Eli Levy, who manages the agro-eco project and has worked at the youth village for over 30 years. Eli explained the theory behind the ecological garden and its benefits to Sion and I.
We then visited a few classrooms and met some of the students who were preparing for their matriculation exams with their teachers help. They were all very friendly and excited to see WIZO visitors. The next stop was the Beit Hadar dormitory, which recently underwent major renovations sponsored by The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, WIZO USA, the Weinberg Foundation and the Israeli government. We saw a few of the beautifully renovated bedrooms. We also visited the students' lounge in the dormitory. Here is where they sit and relax in their spare time enjoying the lovely new upholstered couches, or doing their homework on the new computers.
The highlight of the day was when we toured the farm area. We got to see the goats, sheep, guinea pigs, snakes, lizards, chickens, birds, tortoises and dogs. We even got to pick some of the freshly laid chicken eggs. Visiting the farm and hearing about how the animals are cared for by the youth was very interesting and a lot of fun. It was nice to see that the youth village had so much open green space for the students to enjoy, it was a very serene environment which made me realize how much the atmosphere can impact on youth from troubled backgrounds.
I could have easily spent much more time at Nachlat Yehuda, everyone was very warm and welcoming. The friendly atmosphere, with beautifully kept gardens along with the endless support from the teachers makes Nachlat Yehuda a lovely place to call home.