A Place We Call Home

Since 1979, OU Israel has been making a difference in Israel, enriching the lives of children and adults, immigrants and native Israelis, visitors and residents, soldiers and civilians.

OU Israel's five-story building in central Jerusalem is home to classrooms, event halls, and more than 80 weekly programs that attract Jews of all affiliations. Through social connection and spiritual inspiration, OU Israel's goal is to maintain and invigorate each individual's Jewish heritage while fostering Jewish pride and unity.

Visit OU Israel
860
youth receive counseling and special programming to help them recover from PTSD suffered during Operation Guardian of the Walls
2,318
participants in 19 OU Israel Youth Centers from Kiryat Shmona to Dimona
6,000+
questions answered by the OU Israel Gustave & Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education

ZULA: SUPPORTING AT-RISK YOUTH

Since 2000, when it opened with five kids and a guitar, The Pearl and Harold Jacobs Zula Outreach Center—“the Zula”—has been a home for thousands of troubled teens, most from religious homes. Counselors and social workers create a safe space, building trust and encouraging kids to get in touch with their spiritual side and to reconnect with their Jewish roots and Jewish pride.

CHAIM’S STORY: SAVED BY ZULA AND MUSIC

For Chaim, music has been an anchor in his often conflicted and tumultuous life. Now living in Israel, Chaim grew up in an ultra-religious family in New York. When he broke from his community, Chaim had no formal education or professional training, making it difficult to find gainful employment. At his lowest point, when Chaim was living on the streets with no place to go, he became connected to the Zula. There he found acceptance—and music.

Chaim was quick to make use of the Zula’s music room and its equipment to mix tracks, jam with the Zula band, and even learn the violin, an experience that left him recharged and rejuvenated. “When I play music all my worries seem to fade away,” he said. “I have profound gratitude to the Zula for giving people like me the chance to come together, doing something we love.”

More than 1,000 people came together for OU Israel's Tefila B'Tachana–Yom HaAtzmaout Musical Tefila, one of OU Israel's signature annual events and the first communal activity following pandemic closures.

CREATING POPULAR CONTENT FOR ALL AGES

THE 'Y' (YERUSHALAYIM) CHRONICLES

This Torah Tidbits exclusive comic strip focuses on Jewish values and connects young readers to Eretz Yisrael/Yerushalayim.

KASHRUT EDUCATION VIDEO SERIES

This series of informative videos featuring Rabbi Ezra Friedman, Director of OU Israel's Gustave and Carol Jacobs Center for Kashrut Education, presents entertaining and clear content on a variety of kashrut-related topics.

KIDS KOLLEL

For children of English-speaking families, this new program offers virtual activities that are entertaining, informal, and educational.

HEBREW ON THE GO

Hebrew on the Go is a new initiative which provides young Olim families and their school-age children with immersion in Hebrew and Israeli culture through a variety of outdoor community activities and gatherings.

OU Israel's JCHAT/Young Professionals Community continues to play an important role for young, professional, English-speaking Olim, providing opportunities for social connection, volunteering, and personal growth.

OU ISRAEL MILESTONES

2021 MARKS CAMP DROR’S 25TH SUMMER AND ITS LARGEST YET:

254

campers (147 girls, 107 boys), 54 of whom are part of the Fagin Leadership Program



3RD

Annual Torah Yerushalayim (in memory of David and Norma Fund Z"l)—a day of Chizuk during Aseret Yimei Teshuva was held on Sunday, September 12. Due to pandemic-related guidelines, this signature OU Israel event was offered as a global broadcast.


OU ISRAEL YOUTH CENTERS

HELPING TEENS HEAL FROM TRAUMA

OU Israel’s Youth Centers have provided counseling, tiyulim, and volunteer and activism opportunities for nearly 900 atrisk youth who were severely affected by the rioting and the recent war with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Programs like the PTSD Phototherapy Initiative help give these kids a sense of fulfillment and self-esteem, and an opportunity to express themselves through photography.

OU Israel Youth Centers (The Jack E. Gindi Oraita Program & Makom Balev) works with at-risk children and teens coping with violence, crime, and poverty in 19 branches across the country

OVERCOMING ADVERSITY THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY

NITZAN'S STORY

Born during a rocket attack in Sderot, Nitzan began life in a reinforced bunker at a hospital in Ashkelon. A constant in her life was the blaring of the Red Siren Alert system, letting her and her family know they had just 15 seconds to make it to safety. Growing up in such an environment, Nitzan suffers from extreme PTSD and can't even leave the company of her parents without suffering a panic attack.

Nitzan has found respite at OU Israel’s Youth Center in Sderot. With the care and guidance of her counselor, Nitzan has been able to overcome her anxiety through enrichment and empowerment activities like the PTSD Phototherapy Program, where she has been able to finally express her pain through photography. Now an avid photographer, Nitzan can be seen taking pictures throughout Sderot, searching for the beauty within her chaotic life.

Seif OU-JLIC