ELEM'S Newsletter, Fall 2018

Editor’s Letter:

I hope everyone had a great High Holiday season and your new year is off to an amazing start. We recently held our “Ray of Hope” gala. The highlight for me was when Peter Yarrow’s (Peter of Peter, Paul and Mary) daughter, Bethany accepted our Lifesaver award on her dad’s behalf. When I was about 6, I was supposed to play Puff in the camp play. I was ready to be the best dragon. But got the chicken pox the day before my performance. So meeting Bethany and learning about the great work she and her dad do to help all types of people was great. It gives you a warm feeling knowing how many people out there are dedicated to helping youth in need. I hope everyone has a happy holiday season. Contact us if you’d like to volunteer with us or see our projects in the Holy Land.

On Sept. 27 ELEM held its “2018 Ray of Hope Gala” at the NY Academy of Medicine. Board Member Noam Laden emceed. Peter Yarrow was honored
withthe Lifesaver award. His daughter made an impassioned speech and showed a video featuring her father discussing the importance of helping youth.

Later that evening Bethany and her musical partner, Rufus Cappadocia, dazzled the audience with a stellar performance.

Also honored with ELEM’s award for community service were NYC Council Member Fernando Cabrera and Lisa K. Lippman of Brown, Harris, Stevens. Combined they have decades of service under their belts. Both spoke highly of ELEM’s work and the need to give back. Fernando Cabrera has served in the NYC City Council since 2010. His leadership positions in the NYC Council include chair of the Governmental Operations Committee and co-chair of the Gun Violence Task Force. Council Member Cabrera is a member of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus and is a staunch advocate for tenants, youth and seniors. Outside of her professional life as a real estate broker, Lisa Lippman serves as a trustee ofthe Riverside Parks Conservancy, a trustee of TNJH (a community nursing home), is a former board member of two charter schools and an active UJA member.

Last year ELEM worked with over 122,000 troubled youth. Through our help they have had their life stories changed for the positive. It all started with a friendly “hello” and a little patience.

A countries’ health depends on strength of its youth. Thankfully, 70% of the youth in Israelare considered by the government to be “normative.” Sadly, 30% are identified as “at-risk” and this number is growing.

Sixteen-year-old Shoshana was struggling. Her friend referred her to Nurit, an ELEM worker. It took Nurit weeks and dozens of phone calls and many unkept dates before Shoshana finally met her in a café.

But thanks to Nurit’s patience and persistence this girl’s life changed. ELEM workers understand how difficult it is for youth to reach out for help and to trust help will be given without judgement.

Shoshana started the meeting with Nurit saying she only had 15 minutes before she was being picked up for a job. She was homeless and had found work as a stripper at parties.

Shoshana shared all the difficulties of this line of work but felt she was making too much money to stop. She was

looking to be rescued. Nurit let her know that ELEM was there to show her how she can rescue herself. Two hours later they parted, agreeing to meet again. A new relationship was born and Shoshana had the support sheneeded to turn her life around.



Peter, Paul and Mary combined their music with their passion for justice, equality and peace. Peter Yarrow’s gift for songwriting produced some of the group’s most memorable songs, such as Day is Done, Light One Candle, The Great Mandala and Puff the Magic Dragon. He’s earned numerous gold and platinum albums and has been awarded multiple Grammys.

Peter, Paul and Mary were an integral part of some of the most important times of social change in America. They sang at the March on Washington in 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the “I have a dream” speech and were part of the historic Selma-Montgomery March in 1965.

A tireless social activist, for more than five decades Peter Yarrow has given his talent, energy and love to issues such as hunger, homelessness, war, equal rights and more.

His song “Light One Candle” was an anthem for thousands of students on the steps of the Capitol making their voices heard to free Soviet Jewry.

In 1999, along with ELEM board member Dr. Charolotte Frank, Peter launched what he considers to be perhaps his most meaningful and ambitious effort: an educational nonprofit, “Operation Respect: Don’t Laugh at Me.” It is an anti-bullying program designed to create a safe and respectful learning environment in schools, free of bullying, ridicule and violence.

Peter Yarrow’s music and social programs inspire us to engage in repairing the world, in tikkun olam, and to believe, that with all of our voices together, we can make it happen. For this and more, ELEM presented Peter Yarrow with ELEM’s 2018 Lifesaver award. Accepting the award on Peter’s behalf was his daughter Bethany.

Click here to see more great Gala photos.


ELEM’s 25 drop-in centers throughout the country are incredibly successful in helping troubled youth. Depressed and anxious, some of these youth have dropped out of school, have suicidal thoughts or are involved with prostitution and crime. The counselors, and volunteers at the centers engage these youth, earn their trust and establish long-term relationships that provide counseling, support and guidance that helps them change their lives.

ELEM drop-in centers have been so successful that Israeli state and local government have decided to work with ELEM to put these centers in schools to give troubled youth access to ELEM counselors during school hours. Officials realize that the sooner these youth get help, the more likely they will stay in school and not fall prey to the crime, drugs and prostitution on the streets.

Last year the Shluk project – drop-in centers in schools — was launched. Six schools now have ELEM drop-in centers in schools that are jointly funded by the government, local municipalities and ELEM. Youth can voluntarily talk to skilled ELEM counselors who provide the support they need before their stress leads them to drop out of school. Shluks are a powerful preventative strategy that will help keep kids in school. ELEM is planning on opening two more Shluks this year.

What makes ELEM’s drop-in centers so successful? The secret is that they don’t look like places kids would go to talk to a counselor. They look like coffee houses, like places to read and relax. They are staffed by counselors and volunteers who look a lot like the students, but older, and who listen to them without judgement. The Shluks, like ELEM’s existing drop-in centers, are places where kids are comfortable and want to go. Welcoming and non-threatening, it’s easy for them to have coffee and talk there. Youth come because they want to, not because they’re mandated.

ELEM’s drop-in centers and Shluks work. The models have a proven track record of success with an excellent return on investment in kids who stay off the streets, join the army and contribute to the Israeli economy and society. ELEM has specialized youth centers that meet the needs of youth throughout Israel: “Hafuch al Hafuch” are centers located in cities; “Migdalors” are in neighborhood centers; “Finjan” youth centers are located in Bedouin communities and “Ichfa” centersdeal with issues particular to youth from ultra-Orthodox families. The Shluks in schools have staff who understand the particular cultures of the students at the school.

There are 240,000 youth in Israel struggling with depression, severe emotional problems, drug and alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts or behavior, homelessness or vagrancy. ELEM’s drop-in centers help keep these youth off the streets and build successful lives.


$2,600 will pay for volunteer training for one Shluk and $1,100 pays for equipment. Partner with ELEM to help kids who are struggling to stay in school.