The Bridge to Independence program was born out of a dream in partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Social Services. The dream of our village graduates who, at the age of 18, set out on a new and challenging path, full of questions, fears, and quite a bit of loneliness. We, who provided them with a warm, loving, and protected home throughout their childhood and adolescence, knew that their journey was far from over.
Today, the SOS operates 16 apartments in a wide geographical spread. The apartments are an anchor and a bridge to the adult lives of our 96 youngsters. Each apartment is a warm, embracing home for six young men and women where they find a helping hand, a hot meal, and a loving smile.
The apartment supervisor and the entire program staff are always available for guidance in all areas of life: planning for the future, financial management, enlisting for meaningful service in the IDF, college education and professional training, career, exercising their rights, and strengthening family ties.
“The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to be afraid.” (R. Nachman of Breslov)
At the Bridge to Independence program, we know that the world is full of bridges that need to be crossed and that crossing them can be challenging and scary. We are here to extend a guiding hand and offer the right tools for crossing those bridges into the future.
Emerging adulthood is a period during which young women at risk encounter amplified struggles due to being women in a men-dominant social construct, their lack of social resources, and additional challenges arising from society’s discrimination, financial difficulties, and social constraints.
Because 80% of the young adults participating in Bridge to Independence are women, we created The SheBecomes Program. SheBecomes encourages our young women to redefine themselves, choosing self-love, healthy lifestyles, and positive relations. Our mission is to help them find the strength to pursue their educational purposes and achieve their full intellectual, social, and economic potential.
The program consists of a holistic approach which includes one-on-one sessions with a counselor, dynamic group therapy, and ongoing mentoring. Together will approach themes like gender identity, perception of sexuality, healthy relationships, warning lights, women’s well-being, dealing with conflicts, and facing challenges with strength.
The program aims to provide a stable structure and personal guidance for young Haredi women, ages 18-25, who have grown up in out-of-home placements. These women are at an exceptionally high risk of ending up in difficult circumstances that could endanger their well-being, tending towards self-destruction, crime, or prostitution, and being vulnerable to further exploitation.
They lack adequate support, basic formal education, and other critical skills to survive in the secular world. Sadly, they are often abandoned and shunned by their families and communities, leaving them to traverse a challenging new environment on their own, longing for acceptance, inclusion, and support.
We believe that by providing them with suitable and adjusted services, and through education and empowerment, they can find their way to remain within their origin community, maintaining their Haredi culture and identity.