After an Especially Challenging Year,
Israeli Youth Desperately Need ELEM
For the last three years, we’ve all witnessed the world react to the unimaginable impact of COVID-19. One might not realize how greatly youth were affected by everything that COVID brought into our lives.
Youth from dysfunctional families were forced to spend time isolated in abusive homes during “safe” stay at home periods. And this is all before we consider the impact Israel’s challenging security situation had on youth, as well as an unstable government, and difficult summer months, during which boredom pushes youth to the streets where they partake in violence and additional concerning behaviors.
An organization with a non-traditional approach founded by a New Yorker, ELEM/Youth in Distress in Israel, addresses the fallout Israeli youth are experiencing.
For nearly 40 years, ELEM’s unique, street-savvy outreach has been cultivating trust with youth who have left the mainstream and won’t seek help elsewhere. The 12,500 youth it serves annually and the additional 100,000 youth who contact ELEM online come from all religions and backgrounds. They suffer from domestic abuse, sexual violence, homelessness, and the stress of potential security-related attacks. Many have dropped out of school and resort to substance abuse and prostitution. ELEM’s staff and thousands of volunteers reach out to these youth on the streets and offer culturally sensitive therapy, mentoring, school placement, and vocational training. ELEM is recognized by the United Nations as a special consultant in the field of at-risk youth.
On November 3rd, ELEM/Youth in Distress in Israel held its first in-person event since 2019. The New York organization that supports the work of ELEM Israel, has gone above and beyond this year to ensure their return is strong.
The event, dubbed “Finding Refuge,” featured Elisha Wiesel, son of the late Elie Wiesel, who discussed safe havens and safe spaces. Consul General of Israel in New York, Ambassador Asaf Zamir, gave remarks about ELEM’s unique approach as the largest nonprofit for at-risk youth in Israel.
Funds raised at the event will benefit over 90 programs in more than 40 cities across Israel.