"A stolen childhood” was the lot of thousands of children in the past, until they arrived at our House of Hope, built especially for them in Netanya, Israel.
The House of Hope was founded fifty years ago, when a young widower, who was left to cope with three small children, came to the doorstep of the Rebbe of Kiryat Sanz, the late Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Halberstam, of blessed memory, and told him that he simply could not raise the children. He was about to simply leave them to their fate.
The warm-hearted Rebbe, whose wife and eleven children had been murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust in Europe, could not refuse to help the widower. Already in Europe, in the aftermath of the Shoah, the Rebbe had established homes for the young survivors, among them children. As the widower described his predicament, the Rebbe came to a decision and decided then and there to establish a home in Israel for abandoned children.
Over the years, the House of Hope has raised thousands of babies and children who were in great distress due to poverty or to parents who were physically or mentally sick, dysfunctional, or even imprisoned. We gave them a home that provided for their physical, social, emotional, psychological and educational needs, caring for them many from infancy right up until marriage and sometimes beyond that as well.
There are girls for whom the House of Hope is the only home they know, 365 days a year. Their biologic family is dysfunctional, their parents are deceased or belong to the lowest socio-economic stratum and cannot provide for them, or their parents simply do not have parenting skills and cannot even provide for them for a short while during the holidays.
The family courts and welfare laws protect such children and have appointed institutions such as the House of Hope to be In loco parentis, functioning as both parents, devoted to the well-being of their charges, every day of the year, including Shabbat, holidays, and vacations.
Rabbi Halberstam obm worried about the children with unfailing devotion until his last days. He made sure that the staff would satisfy their material, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual needs so that their future would be better than the situation into which they were born.
His son, the current Sanz Rebbe, the Admor Zvi Elimelech Halberstam continues to support the vital work and has developed a new leadership team to bear the responsibility for insuring that the staff remains dedicated and gives their best to the girl as his father wished.
The girls in House of Hope come from all the different ethnic groups in Israel, and include immigrants as well as girls from families who have been here a long while. The girls come from many parts of the world such as Georgia (FSU), Bucharia, Poland, Hungary, Yemen, France, Russia, Ethiopia and others Sephardic countries.
In House of Hope we believe that each child has the right to grow up in a warm and loving family, and if the biologic parents cannot or will not provide this – then our dedicated staff in our House of Hope will do this, and do it successfully.