Neve Sraya ( Brosh )

Art, Creation and Sustainability Village for Religious Teenage Boys at Risk

Neve Sraya is Timora’s creative solution for the phenomenon of 13-18 year old boys who have difficulty persevering in their regular schools, and need a framework that will prevent their dropping out and will give them a sense of confidence and stability.

Neve Sraya vreceives teenage boys with open arms and, with the help of art and ecology, helps them cope with a wide variety of their personal and social difficulties.

Life in the Village combines studies for a high school diploma, investment in art and creation, and physical work based on agriculture and the prevailing principles. Activities involving art and creative work relate to the teenagers’ emotional worlds, whereas their former schools didn’t give them an outlet for expression.

Neve Sraya is an educational, creative and rehabilitative model for teenage boys at risk who lack boundaries and a framework.

Neve Sraya, located in the Jordan Valley, offers a comprehensive residential school alignment and applies a dynamic educational process that brings the teenage boys back to their home communities as independent adults. Neve Sraya serves as an example of a supportive adult for its teenage students.  The combination of studies for high school graduation along with work in art and agriculture gives the youngsters new means of expression and a chance for a normative life within the framework of friends and family.  The village, which now accommodates around thirty teenagers, will grow in stages up to a maximum of 180 boys.

Art and agriculture as tools for self-expression

The teenagers can choose between the stage arts, drama and movement, and visual art, drawing, painting, sculpture, woodwork, metal work and cloth works. The physical work is in construction and agriculture, and its main purpose is to expose the youth to growth in all cycles of life. In the future we will examine the option of turning the agricultural work into a branch that will help to financially establish the Village and its residents.

Activities

Art and creation lessons as part of a timetable

Carpentry, building, drama, music, martial arts, drawing and painting, sustainability and creative writing.

The courses in the village are

In the course of the year the teenagers attend

workshops, discussion groups, survival treks, meetings with artists, art days, meetings with national and world artists.

Building the Village is a significant part of the student’s sense of belonging to the place

In the framework of production lessons the teenagers create benches, paths, gardens, a fruit tree orchard, a pet farm and more…

The students attend group meetings and classes on a horse ranch in the Village. Some of the students enjoy therapeutic horseback riding.

Building the Village is a significant part of the student’s sense of belonging to the place

Students work in vegetable hothouses within the framework of the agriculture class, and also enjoy the some of the produce they labored for.

Neve Sraya's Graduates

“People are busy recycling, doing things again. People want to succeed like other people, get recognition like them.  That is the power of routine, the norm that causes people to believe that they can achieve the same success as others. To recycle success is not easy, to forgo success is much more difficult. But to discover personal success? That is supreme success. That is Brosh.

First year graduate

Imagine that you’re in a field, a dark field filled with fog so heavy that you can’t see a thing. Imagine that you’re in this field for years, in the same spot, with your eyes closed. Imagine your eyes opening for the first time and seeing nothing but fog. Imagine your hands groping, looking for an opening. Imagine your feet moving for the first time, one foot after another, running. And then you’re stuck. A fence stands in your way. It spreads out without end and reaches the sky. You run along the fence, looking for an exit, but there is none. Then you return to the same spot, sit down, close your eyes, get a sinking sensation. You give up on everything, friends, family, even love. Then suddenly a hand shakes you, and you open your eyes. The fence is still there, as big as ever. But this time there is no fog, and for the very first time you are not alone.

10th grade graduate

So, it’s our second year together, another year is winding down. This shouldn’t be taken for granted when you consider that we started out as 12 boys. Never mind what I went through, think what you want. Let’s not beat around the bush, in the beginning you were very neglected and abandoned. You sat alone, orphaned, showing your nakedness to all. The palm trees at the entrance were sad, the heritage room was silent and still, and now? Now see how wonderful everything is! The noise of children, the atmosphere of life, the palm trees at the entrance bursting with happiness! The heritage room has turned into a Beit Midrash. What a great turnaround! And the mud? Who even remembers it! Now there is green grass… but never mind outward appearances. You know about yourself; you are no longer a small bunch of abandoned buildings. You are Neve Sraya (Brosh)!

11th grade graduate

“I arrived at Brosh, I didn’t know much, I knew things weren’t good for me before then, but I had no idea what I wanted. I kept my distance from the staff, with my friends I put out feelers. The days went by, I was a little lost, I was very idle. Not that things were actually so bad for me. I just had no idea how to get myself going. And then a few times I was sent home. They didn’t tell me when or if I’d be coming back. They just put things to me straight. At times it was really hard for me to listen. But I always knew that they love me and believe in me. Or to be precise, they weren’t giving in to me and they weren’t giving up on me! I sat at home not knowing what will be with me. They didn’t give me the chance to start working outside. Mainly, they made me start looking inside myself to see what I wanted. The look inside myself produced an opposite effect – confidence! The ability to make my voice heard, succeed in making meaningful friendships and contact with the staff. So thanks to everyone. And thanks to myself. For the wonderful journey, may it continue, Amen.

11th grade graduate

“Hey, do you remember me? I look different, no? What’s this, I grew my hair, you ask? I can’t explain in words what happened to me, so at least I’ll try. Okay, I went through a year at Neve Sraya, and as far back as I can remember myself I never went through such an internal change. What’s so cool about it is that I made this change almost without any physical help from the staff. They just gave me the tools and let me “go on a quest.” A year when a child whose purpose in life is that it should be fun and funny transforms into a boy who searches for something a bit more.  A boy who cares more and is more moral. Has more values. Is more idealistic. Gives more of himself. Is smarter. More of a friend. Mainly, more me! I am a person who can at long last look at what is happening to me. Maybe that’s because of the “over freedom” they give at Brosh. It’s really quite amazing. An example that most amazed me was once I would run from responsibility, always avoid lending a helping hand, and then of course I would give an excuse and act very childishly. And I would look at all those who do help and think it comes to them naturally. And now I arrived at a place where I can create a new name for myself. And people look at me and think that it comes to me naturally-  very ironic! Another thing that happened to me was that I always had a certain charisma, but it was always more comfortable for me to take it to the place of the funny boy! And this year I made a switch in my head and the situation changed. Okay, I’m not going to explain the change that has come over me now, so I simply won’t do that because it is mine and doesn’t belong to anyone else.”

The Uniqueness of Yiftach:
Dynamic Education

Dynamic education is an innovative worldview that was developed over more than a decade and is based on “work through contact,” which helps youth grow by means of managing daily relationships within an all-inclusive and supportive framework. The wide-open space of dialog engenders a corrective experience that strengthens the teenager’s sense of competence to develop and rise above the pains of the past.
With the will to relate personally to each and every individual the teenagers in Yiftach are divided into three age groups, each containing 15 boys. Each group receives around the clock support from dedicated staff: a coordinator (instructor), youth counselor, social worker and two supportive young men in their pre-army service year.