ELEM Updates During the Ongoing Events in Israel

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An Entire Generation Just Became at Risk

During this difficult period, ELEM, which has always provided critical mental health support in emergency situations, has expanded its online services and is providing as much support as possible to evacuated youth in pop-up locations.

The numbers of youth in our 24/7 shelters has doubled. This vulnerable population cannot be left on the streets at this time. 

At the same time, the shelters are suffering a severe shortage of staff, in part as staff and volunteers are called to the front lines.

We will post updates on this page as more information comes in.


Gaya Nir, Director of ELEM’s Breathing Spaces, speaks at Temple Emanu-El in New York City on April 13. Gaya brings first hand experience of youth stories and treating their trauma. Listen to learn more about how Gaya and our incredible staff in Israel is working to prevent trauma from turning into PTSD, helping each child, teen, or young adult feel safe and develop the tools to move from survival to healing.


*12/16 – We’ve added two additional recent interviews to our press section below.

The interviews include:

-ELEM-Israel CEO, Tali Erez, speaks on Israeli Kan B radio station about the unique risk behaviors exhibited by evacuated youth.

Read the transcript here.

Gal Pe’er, Manager of ELEM’s Ma’ale HaChamisha Wartime pop-up space speaks on Israeli 99FM Radio about what she sees at the space every day.

Read the transcript here.


*12/7 – Gaya Nir, who manages ELEM’s Breathing Spaces program for displaced youth, shares her experience in a blog post:

“A month has passed since I started managing ELEM’ emergency program, which operates spaces for youth from the south and the north.

I approached the task with humility from the get-go, and I discovered that in the duffle bag I packed for “reserve service” at ELEM I also need to include compassion, a lot of space for everyone who has encountered trauma, and all the strength I have to deal with uncertainty, lack of control and helplessness. Just let these feelings in like guests and remind myself that I am bigger than them.

So, I started, and this road brought back to my life beloved people, and connections with those I missed in the previous round, maybe because I matured, maybe because they matured.

What is certain is that in the difficult moments these people are my support. And there are difficult moments.”

You can read the full post here

We’ve created a map with all the current and upcoming locations where ELEM currently has Breathing Spaces and serving displaced youth from both the south and the north.


*12/3 – An additional article about our or fallen volunteers from the Good People program was published on Ma’ariv.

The surviving volunteers share testimonials from October 7th.

To read, click here.


*11/24 – We’re hoping to expand our Breathing Spaces into schools on locations hosting displaced teens, providing them a continuous presence throughout their day.

These will be very similar to our Shluk program for informal spaces on school grounds, but will be offered specifically to evacuated youth, who find it hard to reintegrate into a school routine.


*11/22 – The ever changing reality of the ongoing war means ELEM must be dynamic. The needs change on a daily basis, asking us to adapt quickly and often change course.

We’re currently operating Breathing Spaces (informal spaces) in the following locations hosting displaced families from the Gaza Envelope and from Northern Israel:

Tiberius – 2 spaces in the large hotels area.

Hof HaKarmel – 1 space.

Netanya – upcoming.

Shfayim – 1 space.

Herzeliya – 1 space.
Tel Aviv  – 2 spaces, including near the Dan Panorama hotel.
Ma’ale HaChamisha – 1 space.
Jerusalem – upcoming. There are 60 hotels in the covered area.
Eilat – Upcoming.

When we launched the first Breathing Space, already on 10/8, we didn’t know how high the demand would be, and how often ELEM services would be requested.

Supporting our emergency campaign will allow us to open additional spaces in additional locations.

Here’s a snippet about the work of our spaces, as featured on Kan 11 channel in Israel.


We’re also collaborating with NATAL, the Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center, who have representatives in six of our spaces, bolstering our trauma-informed therapy capability on the spot.

At a time like this, we’re grateful to have multi-organizational initiatives.


*11/11 – We’ve added two more recent articles featuring ELEM’s work at this time.

You can read them here, and here.


*11/10 – On 10/7 we lost 3 wonderful volunteers who attended the Nova Festival as part of their work with our Good People program.

This is their story, as reported by Daniel Elazar on Kan 11. This story premiered on 11/3.

*11/9 – We are now collaborating with the wonderful people of Babka Bailout

They will be donating 10% of the proceeds of sales made between now and the new year (1/1/2024) with this flyer from your phone or printed by clicking here.

You can find them at the Holiday Market in Bryant Park, the Holiday Market in Union Square, and their flagship store in Jersey City, NJ.

Babka Bailout also delivers, and you can order online using code Elem upon checkout.


*10/30 – ELEM continues to operate in accordance with the Home Front Command instructions. 

This past week we:

-Re-opened our drop-in center in Safed (only within secured rooms.)

-Relaunched our Outreach Vans in Arab cities.

-Nof HaGalil drop-in center: working part time.

-Re-opened our drop-in center in Nataniya.

-Bat Yam and Petach Tikva programs are working on and off in close proximity to secured rooms.

All of the above are our regular programs and are slowly re-opening in addition to our special Safe Spaces initiative meant to provide immediate mental health support to evacuated youth. We’re currently operating in five locations, with the most recent one opening in the Dead Sea. We plan to expand to a total of 20 locations.

Read more about the Safe Spaces here.

*10/30 – ELEM continues to influence policy even at this time. In the last few days:

-Staff member Renana Danon (who also spoke at our most recent gala) participated at a special meeting of the Knesset Health Committee and Committee for the Rights of the Child. She provided an update about the state of the youth during the war and emphasized how important it is to allocate separate funds to treat mental health issues caused by the war.

-Head of the ELEM’s Community Field, Khalil Homeidi, participated in a special roundtable at the Prime Minister’s office about youth and children during war time, with emphasis on multiculturalism.

-ELEM-Israel CEO, Tali Erez, took part in a meeting of third sector CEOs with the goal of working with the Ministry of Welfare to raise emergency funds for the sector.

*10/26 – Nava Barak, President of ELEM-Israel, spoke on Israeli Channel 12 about our war-time work in our pop-up locations and the Digital Field. 

*10/25 – Tali Erez, CEO of ELEM-Israel, shared with Maariv that some of the youth ELEM has been meeting in our pop-up locations are survivors of the massacre at the Nova Festival. Full interview coming soon.

*10/23 – ELEM already has four up and running pop-up locations in Ma’aleh Hahamisha, Shfayim, Tiberias and Mishmar-Ha’emek. Each of these towns is currently hosting 350 evacuee families. Every evening, dozens of teens come to the ELEM team to share their experiences and begin to process the trauma they endured during the brutal invasion of their homes.


*10/22 – Two of our Outreach Vans that were on the ground at Nova as part of our Good People program were destroyed during the attack. We’re raising funds to replenish our fleet of vans as we send them out to cities and towns who host evacuated youth.

*10/22 – Israeli media confirmed today that the massacre on 10/7 left 16 kids orphans. One of those kids, a 4-year-old who lost her parents, is currently kidnapped in Gaza. Children and youth remain the most visible victims of this war.

*10/20 – On 10/12, ELEM Israel’s COO, Danny Levit, was on Israeli news channel 13, and discussed the issues currently faced by youth, including youth who’ve witnessed the horrors of 7/10 first hand. Watch below.

*10/18 – We’re writing this with a very heavy heart. Yamin Beera, who volunteered with our Young Mothers at Risk program in the south, was confirmed murdered, alongside her family members, during the massacre at Kibbutz Be’eri.

Yasmin has been mentoring N. for over a year. With Yasmin’s endless devotion and love they made major shifts in N.’s life. 

Yasmin was beloved by all. May her memory be a blessing.

*10/17 –  Since last Tuesday night, ELEM has been on the ground at Kibbutz Ma’aleh Hahamisha, currently housing 350 evacuated families, to provide emotional support and trauma therapy to teens and young adults.

This week, ELEM will be launching three more pop-up sites in Tiberias, Shfayim and Mishmar Ha’emek, to address the needs of teenage refugees. Every evening, dozens of teens come to the sites to share their experience and begin to process the trauma they endured during the brutal invasion of their homes.

Two ELEM outreach vans were destroyed in the onslaught. We must replenish our van fleet, so we can also send more vans to towns with refugees. Please consider donating to our emergency campaign at this time.

We’re hiring new staff to all of our 24/7 programs as so many staffers have been called to serve. We’re not receiving government support for this effort at this time.

*10/16 – The devastating news from our colleagues just keep on coming.

This morning, we’ve learned that Lior Hadad Attias was also murdered at the “Nova” music festival. Just like Yonatan Richter Z”L and Sigal Levy Z”L, she was there as part of our Good People program to assist distressed youth during the rave party.

Lior always spread light wherever she went, with a familiar smile and a big love for life.

May her memory be a blessing.

*10/15 – ELEM’s weekly summary – week 1 of Sword of Iron:

As many programs remain shut down, we’ve launched group session for the youth on both Zoom and Instagram, during the regular operating hours of the programs.

-Our shelter for young women in Jerusalem will re-open tomorrow, following a fire a few months back. It’ll operate 24/7 from the get go, and we will need assistance with care packages the moment the center re-opens. Donations will assist with this greatly.

-Our staff members will receive training on bi-national work during emergencies, so they are best equipped to serve both our Jewish and Arab youth at this time.

-Many graduated of our programs get back in touch, as the anxiety levels at this time are off the charts. They struggle with isolation, as many leave alone, and ask to return to the programs, often even overnight, to not be alone.

-We’re putting together a plan to provide mental health assistant to staffers who need it, as we understand that every single one of us is experiencing this trauma.

-As hard as it is, we must also plan for the aftermath. It is extremely likely that many youth will still exhibit signs of PTSD following the war, especially our youth in the towns at the Gaza envelope. We need to develop ways to accommodate it. These youth went straight from dealing with the trauma of COVID to the trauma of war. 

-It is safe to assume that the Israeli market will be unstable due to this war. Both on the philanthropic front and on the government front, we expect guaranteed funds to be postponed, or not arrive at all. We need your support in order to assist the youth now, and in the aftermath. 

*10/14 – We’re devastated to report that Yonatan Richter, a volunteer with our Good People program, was confirmed dead. Yonatan was killed during the attack at the Nova music festival.

Our collogues in Israel describe him as a great person with a huge heart and incredible strength. He always had a smile, a hug, and love to offer to anyone who needed it. May his memory be a blessing.

*10/11 – Another volunteer, Yasmin Beera, who works with our Young Mothers At-Risk in the south is missing. Along with her family members. We pray for their safe return.

*10/11 – ELEM opened our first pop up sites in communities hosting evacuees from the south. We launched sites in Ma’aleh Hahmisha and Nir David. 

*10/10 – We are heartbroken to share that an ELEM Outreach Van manager, Sigal Levy, has been murdered. The ELEM family, employees, volunteers and hundreds of youth, mourn the loss of this beautiful and kind soul who was extremely dedicated to our youth.

She was killed while volunteering in our Good People initiative. She gave up on her holiday time-off in order to provide emotional assistance and ensure partygoers at the rave are safe.

May her memory be a blessing.

*10/8 – Many teens and young adults have been evacuated from the south, some from their homes in infiltrated communities and some from the rave that
had attracted 4,000 young revelers. ELEM will put staff on the ground at the
evacuation sites for these people to provide emotional support and trauma
therapy to teens and young adults. 

*10/8 – ELEM supports at-risk young mothers, including a hub in southern Israel. These already-impoverished mothers are essentially housebound with their very young children, some in unsafe domestic situations. ELEM is organizing both emergency food packages and basics like diapers, which will have to be delivered to their homes.

*10/8 – ELEM’s online chat services have seen incoming requests triple and quadruple, as teens from all over Israel suffer anxiety and depression under the current unimaginable stress. For teenagers in distress, their devices are their first port of call. ELEM is bolstering teams and expanding access to our chats and digital services to support them where they need us most.

*10/7 – Three ELEM volunteers are missing. They were sent to a rave party in the south, as part of our Good People program in which our vans attend parties to assist youth under the influence or in distress.

We now know 260 people have been killed in that party but have no additional information at this time.

*10/7 – all of our programs, with the exception of our 24/7 shelters and our digital programs (online) are temporarily closed.


  • The NGO and the Death – the story of Good People

      Daniel Elazar, Katn 11, 11/3/2023


  • ELEM’s Breathing Spaces

      Story by Liran Kogahinof. Originally aired on Kan 11,

      on 11/1/2023.


  • ELEM-Israel President, Nava Barak, discussing ELEM’s war-time work.

      Israeli Channel 12, October 23th, 2023


  • ELEM-Israel COO, Danny Levit, discussing the trauma and challenges the youth our currently facing.

      Israeli Channel 13, October 12th, 2023