Over the years, Orr Shalom has created pioneering programs for Israel’s neediest children. In 1994, it established the Therapeutic Foster program to care for children-at-risk with psychiatric profiles. Following the success of this program, it was awarded the government tender to manage foster programs in the center of Israel (from Gedera to Hadera).
Today, Orr Shalom cares for over 1,400 children, making it the largest organization in Israel caring for children and youth-at-risk who have been removed from their homes because of abuse and/or neglect.
Orr Shalom was officially founded in 1980. Gottfried Muller, a philanthropist, approached a young Israeli couple, Hal and Shelly Cohen, who were interested in pioneering new models of out-of-home care for children-at-risk. The Cohens believed that intimate, family homes would meet children’s needs more than institutional frameworks. With Muller’s help, they took in ten children-at-risk. The Ministry of Welfare was so impressed by their work that they gave them permission to establish Israel’s first Family-Therapeutic Group Home. Orr Shalom was born.
By 1990, the organization had four Family-Therapeutic Group Homes and was caring for 46 children. Over the following 14 years Orr Shalom grew, opening Therapeutic Family Group Homes and Adolescent Girls Homes across Israel, as well as the Beit Goldschmidt Home for Girls.
Orr Shalom’s vision is to enable Israel’s children at-risk to realize their potential and their right to grow up loved, protected and respected, individual and special, in small therapeutic frameworks.
Orr Shalom is committed to finding a replacement home for every child in its care, and helping the children break the cycle of abuse, thereby contributing to the resilience and moral fiber of Israeli society.
According to its therapeutic approach, Orr Shalom develops and operates a range of educational and therapeutic responses, programs and services for children and youth at risk and their biological parents, from all sectors of Israeli society. Orr Shalom assists them to overcome their emotional, academic and social distress and grow, develop and integrate as citizens in mainstream society.
Orr Shalom ensures that the needs, distress and status of children and youth at risk are part of the public discourse, for the benefit of the children and for the benefit of Israeli society. Orr Shalom advocates for the children’s interests and represents them with regard to the general public and the establishment.
Orr Shalom’s unique system of childcare has garnered national prominence in the field of social welfare. In 2013, Orr Shalom was awarded the prestigous Presidential Award for Volunteerism by President Shimon Peres. The Department of Children and Youth in the Ministry of Social Affairs views Orr Shalom as the leading children’s organization in Israel that successfully maintains the small therapeutic family-oriented group home, and regards it as the model and future direction for child care programs in Israel.
Orr Shalom received the 2002 Adler Prize awarded by the Adler Academic Institute of Research of the Shapell School of Social Work at Tel Aviv University in recognition of Orr Shalom’s advancement of the welfare and well-being of at-risk children.
Orr Shalom has also won the Ministry of Education Prize for Educational Excellence for our work in Eilat, and the Ashalim-JDC prize for Excellence for our Therapeutic Foster Parent Center.
To learn more click on the links below:
Orr Shalom Senior Management Team
Orr Shalom Board of Directors