Timora, a non-profit organization established 2002, implements with great success an educational-therapeutic model for religious teenagers at risk, ages 15-18 years old, who in spite of their upbringing in tight-knit Jewish communities, dropped out of school, broke away from their families and seemingly gave up on living a normal life. Focusing on education, a personal rehabilitative process, community and family, Timora has four learning centers for troubled adolescents in need of treatment and healing: Yiftah Residential Center for boys, on the north shore of the Dead Sea; Mahol Residential Center for girls, in the northern Jordan Valley; Na’ale Technological School for Haredi boys in Beitar Illit near Jerusalem; Neve Sraya Ecological Residential Youth Village in the Jordan Valley. Over a decade ago, Timora raised the agenda of high school dropouts in the religious sector. Since then, Timora has done ground-breaking work in the field, which has earned the appreciation of the government, local authorities and communities.
Timora’s mission is to provide a loving educational therapeutic environment for youth at risk that nurtures confidence and belief in their ability to successfully undergo a process of personal growth and development. Timora’s goal is to enable youth at risk to renew bonds with family and community in order to fully reintegrate into society.
Rationale Timora’s innovative ground-breaking approach, based on over a decade of experience, believes in “work within alliances and relationships” which helps adolescents grow and thrive through managing their own daily routines and relationships within a supportive therapeutic environment.
By establishing a safe haven that invites dialogue and acknowledgment, the program provides a restorative experience that endows students with the sense of competence needed to succeed in the outside world. Timora enhances the teenagers at risk’s sense of competence, and enables them to renew their bonds with family, find their place in the community, and embark on a new and better path. In all four frameworks, Timora applies a three-pronged strategy, working on education; family and community; and integration in the next stage of life.
In addressing education, Timora helps our teenagers at risk complete their formal education and finish high school. Towards this, students’ confidence in their ability to succeed is reinforced, and they are taught life skills for future success.
Work at the family/community level is geared to helping them find their way back into their own families, which serve as foundations for lifelong stability and individual progress.
Finally, we strive to enable participants to integrate into the frameworks of the next stage in their life, including the IDF, higher education, and the workplace. Gradually, self-esteem, independence, and personal identity are carefully rekindled and developed.
Timora’s Educational Work Focuses on Emotional and Spiritual Aspects The essence of Timora’s educational work with youth focuses on the emotional and spiritual aspects. We believe that adolescence is a critical developmental stage. It is the time to design the individual’s psyche by means of “work through communication”.
Timora focuses on the skills to form a healthy and sound relationship with our surroundings, but first and foremost with ourselves. We must learn to accept ourselves, and then make peace with our environment, family, G-d, and nature. Timora believes that everything starts and ends with relationships. Hence, it is most important for our youth at risk to develop their emotional skills and build meaningful relationships with the world around them.
Timora’s attention is focused on the emotional aspect due to an understanding that once the spirit is calm, organized and balanced, a hunger for the physical, cognitive, and educational domains thrives. This work has been developed over the years via “dynamic education”, a form of language and tools which brings our work to life. Every interaction with staff members (from the head of the dormitory, teachers, the home cook, or the bus driver) is guided by a process of emotional training.
Our vision is for our youth to take everything they experience and learn with us, and apply it at all stages of life – from high school, through to the IDF or National Service, into their careers and, of course, into family life. Timora believes that this educational path should be implemented in every educational framework, even the most normative. Educators essentially direct the cognitive processes, but the main challenge is not developing cognitive abilities but rather emotional, moral and psychological capacities.
It is a proven fact that if our emotional world is balanced, we are open to additional areas of growth. For teenage youth, such balance may settle violent tendencies, create motivation and push toward achievement.
For over 60 years, Moshe (Moshko) Moshkowitz was a venerable Israeli leader and educator, committed to the building of the Land of Israel and establishing educational and Torah institutions throughout the country. His life was deeply intertwined with Israel’s founding, as he assisted immigrants in the Cyprus detention camps and was one of the leaders of the Gush Etzion resettlement movement after the Six Day War. Moshkowitz served as the first Mayor of Efrat and was a member of the Board of Bar-Ilan University and Chairman of the Shaare Mishpat Law College. Moshkowitz was chosen to light a torch at Israel’s 50th Independence Day ceremony. He passed away in January 2021 at the age of 96.
Zevulun Orlev is a former Member of Knesset (MK), Minister of Welfare and Social Services and leader of the National Religious Party. He served as Director General of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Orlev is a decorated war hero who received the Medal of Distinguished Service in the Yom Kippur War.
Haim Freilichman, CPA, is a senior banker who began his career as a teacher and then served as an assistant principal. His expertise lies in financial management. He served as CEO of Bank Igud and is now Chairman of the Trustees Forum of the Israeli Talmud Project.
Yigal Ben Shalom, Ph.D. is a renowned expert in the field of social policy. He served as Director General of Israel’s National Insurance Institute and as Director General of the Ministry of Labor, where he promoted national projects to advance Israel’s social resilience. Dr. Ben Shalom is a senior lecturer on social policy and management of welfare services in academia. He completed his doctorate on “Implementation of Social Rights: The Case of At-Risk Children and Youth” at Haifa University.
Haya Catane (Kaminetzky), M.D. is a renowned pediatrician and medical administrator. She served as the director of the National Insurance Institutes’ Medical Department for 23 years and is an appointed medical consultant to the National Labor Court. Catane is a graduate of the Hebrew University and Hadassah School of Medicine, and did advanced training at the Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, New York and in pediatric oncology at the RPMI Hospital in Buffalo, New York.
Shimon Harel is a highly esteemed educator who served in senior positions at Israel’s Ministry of Education and as an educational emissary in Australia and England. He was instrumental in the educational absorption of children from the former Soviet Union during the great aliyah wave of the 90s. Harel’s work has led to changes in Israel’s national education system, and he continues to advise mayors and educational leaders. He is the recipient of Israel’s highest civil service award.
Professor Daniel Sperber has had a long and illustrious career as a rabbi and Jewish scholar. He served as scholar-in-residence at a number of major synagogues in the USA, including Lincoln Square. Since 1978 he has been a full professor at Bar-Ilan University and has served as Chairman of the Talmud Department and the Department of Jewish Art, and in 2004 he was appointed President of Bar-Ilan’s Institute of Advanced Torah Studies. He serves on the Board of Hechal Shlomoh and on numerous Academic Committees, including the Israel Academy of Science and the Rothschild Foundation. Professor Sperber has published some 30 books to-date and over 350 scientific articles. In 1992, he was the recipient of the Israel Prize, Israel’s highest honor, in Jewish Studies. He is married and has ten children.
Bruria Agrest, Ph.D. is a leading biology educator in Israel. She served as the Ministry of Education’s Supervisor for Biology Teaching in High Schools and as a member of the Ministry’s Curriculum Development Center. She was Director of the National Center for Support and Development of Biology School Laboratories at Bar Ilan University’s Faculty of Education and headed the Education Committee of the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership. Agrest earned her Ph.D. in science teaching and her M.Sc. in biology, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Amos Safrai is a leading Israeli educator. He went from teacher to supervisor to heading major educational networks that included Emunah College, Amalia Residential High School, Herzog College and the Kfar Etzion Field School. Safrai served as an Israeli educational emissary to London. Now retired, Amos divides his time between volunteering and broadcasting a weekly radio show on the Moreshet radio station.
Ariel Sokoloff is a social entrepreneur and visionary. In 2002 he founded Timora to serve teens who dropped out from their religious communities. Sokoloff was the first one to identify this phenomenon, create awareness of it and develop a new educational-therapeutic approach to empower these marginalized youth. He received his BA from the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, underwent a special program in group moderation and leadership development at Bar Ilan University, attended the Kivunim School of Psychodrama and the JDC Ashalim Directors Course for Youth-at-Risk. Sokoloff served as a commander in the elite 669 Air Force Rescue Unit.
Dita Kohl-Roman is a multifaceted Israeli entrepreneur, executive and social activist. Kohl-Roman served as senior advisor to Israel’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni. She is co-founder and owner of the ERETZ /Metropolis publishing house that specializes in magazines and guidebooks dedicated to Israel lore and global urban culture. Her previous positions include director of resource development for Kishorit, a community for adults with special needs, for the Batsheva dance company, and for Tafnit, a subsidiary nonprofit organization that deals with education in the periphery. Kohl-Roman served as an education officer in the IDF.
Kobi Ben Haim grew up in the national religious community. He is a graduate of the first cohort of Yiftach’s residential program and went on to serve as an officer in an elite combat unit in the IDF. Ben Haim holds a B.A. in marketing and an M.A. in organizational consulting from the Ono Academic College. In his role as deputy director of Timora he oversees 200 students and 140 employees.