About Assaf

Assaf is the youngest in his family. His older siblings were already out of the house. The parents were dysfunctional; unable to discipline, to run an efficient home or serve as role models for their children. At some point, the couple divorced. There was much bitterness and acrimony involved until the marriage was dissolved.

Assaf’s mother was emotionally imbalanced, so the courts ruled that he not live with her. The father was not interested in looking out for him either, nor did he display interest in fostering a relationship with him. So the judge placed Assaf in a foster home, but life was still tough for him.

He was diagnosed with a severe case of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and lagged behind socially, with behavioral disorders and immature conduct. The foster family helped him rehabilitate and for a couple of years Assaf seemed to be doing well. When he was ten years old, he became increasingly difficult and even ran away. Although he returned to the foster family, he was now showing signs of violence.

Assaf saw his father as a positive role model and looked forward to his visits with him. The father led a secular lifestyle and the foster family was Orthodox. The boy was understandably torn in different directions and this situation created tension for everyone involved.

Assaf’s frustrations led him to violent outbursts and erratic behavior. The gaps broadened between the father and the foster family and the atmosphere became extremely stressful – until the family felt that they could no longer cope. As the biological mother did not prove to be a responsible caretaker, the courts moved Assaf once again and he is now a resident at Sanhedria.

Three Brothers

This is the poignant and heartbreaking tale of Elli, Yitzhak and Avraham.……

These three brothers are 7, 9 and 10 years old; they have a sister who is 2. Their father is addicted to illegal substances. Without forewarning, the mother left her husband and their children.

The father entered a rehabilitation program, and subsequently found employment. A relative helped with the care of the children, but even so, the father could not cope with working full time, staying clean of drugs and looking out for his young children. He was overwhelmed with all he had to deal with.

The Ministry of Welfare, in a mutual decision with the father, concluded that it would be in the best interest of the children if they were to leave their natural home and be placed in an alternative setting. After several months of bureaucratic delays, the three boys entered an Emergency Shelter and the little girl was placed in an establishment for smaller children.

Six months after she abandoned her family, the mother reappeared. She offered neither explanation nor apology over her disappearance. She fantasized that her family would reunite, and maintain a household as they did (on some level) prior to her vanishing. By now, the children and their father had lost all trust in her and learned that she was not to be relied upon.

The three boys moved into Sanhedria in January, 2004

Nerya’s story

Nerya is the youngest of three siblings. His mother suffers from emotional problems and depression. His father has border-line intelligence and is visually impaired. The mother walked out, leaving her family behind. A difficult and painful divorce ensued.

Although the father tried his best to look out and care for his children, even assistance from one of the grandmothers, he was too handicapped to provide the attention and nurturing that the children needed. The older siblings were placed in boarding facilities and Nerya moved into Sanhedria.

On one of the children’s visits home, the police got involved in a family dispute which resulted in Nerya’s father being jailed. Nerya loves his father and misses him desperately. On occasion, he gets to see his Dad when he visits him at the jail with an escort from Sanhedria, usually his social worker. These visits must be coordinated and supervised. As much as Nerya wants and needs to spend time with his father, seeing him in handcuffs evokes deep pain and sadness in the boy. Nerya will remain in Sanhedria for a while…….