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The Challenge
Youth-at-Risk
  Leadership Development
  THE CHALLENGE        




 

Adolescence is a period of crisis, characterized by doubts about identity and radical emotional shifts.  This phenomenon is intensified in development towns with high concentrations of immigrants in which the community itself is struggling with the difficulties of daily life. There is no question that  this situation is often the first step in the vicious cycle which leads to poverty, violence, substance abuse and a myriad of serious psycho-social issues which puts extraordinary pressure on the individual, the family, the community & society at large.

Since its inception in 1948, Israel has absorbed and welcomed close to 3 million new immigrants, 155,000 of which made Israel their new home since the outbreak of the last intifada in October of 2000.  In a country where 40% of its citizens are born outside of its borders, successful integration of immigrants is not a luxury but a question of national imperative and requires intervention on many levels, including psycho-social, educational and emotional levels.

Despite their large numbers, new immigrant youth are often plagued with a sense of loneliness, alienation, personal under-achievement and social stigmatization. Many of these youth (ages12-18), face difficult living conditions, economic hardships, complex family and social issues as well as challenges at school. Often, their struggle to cope with a new language, an entirely new culture and issues of personal, Jewish and Israeli identity feel like an insurmountable task.
 
the challenge of yediddim
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