June 16, 2024
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June 16, 2024
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The end of year is always a hectic time, and planning a bat mitzvah just adds to the bustling season. With that said, among all the tests, homework, end-of-school activities and Shavuot, my soon-to-be bat mitzvah daughter, Jacklyn, prepared a beautiful “Flowers for Chesed” project to support Crossroads Jerusalem. The Shavuot holiday was a great inspiration to sell flowers and donate to the “Teens Support Teens” B’nai Mitzvah Program at Crossroads.

Crossroads provides essential life-saving prevention and intervention programs for Anglo teens and young adults in Israel in order to help them reach their potential and thrive. Crossroads’ clients are both male and female and span the religious and political spectrum.

The Crossroads drop-in center is located in downtown Jerusalem and has an amazing team of social workers that welcome each teen that walks in their doors with warmth and acceptance. They are highly trained therapists, committed to their programs and weekly late-night street outreach in downtown Jerusalem. This includes setting up an art table, at midnight, supplied with a variety of art materials where teens can have the opportunity for creative expression and conversation with Crossroads staff.

On the streets it is not uncommon to find teens and young adults directly exposed to or engaged in high-risk, unsafe behaviors or experiencing emotional distress. The social workers help those in need of crisis intervention and spread the word about the helpful resources and services available at the Crossroads drop-in center.

One very rainy evening in Jerusalem, Leah, a social worker at Crossroads, was contemplating whether to go out on the streets or not. She decided to go and ended up bumping into a familiar face, a teen boy she knew from the center. He asked her, “Leah, what are you doing out in the rain?” and her answer was simple, “I’m here because you are here.” This is the level of commitment that Crossroads social workers give.

Jacklyn had the opportunity to speak to Robbie Sassoon, the director of Crossroads, and hear some personal stories. One story was of a girl who was running down Ben Yehuda, rather erratically, with ink all over her arms and neck. According to Robbie, “It looked like she was covered in tattoos.” Robbie recognized the girl, as she had dropped in a few times to the Crossroads center. She had a black sharpie in her hand and “I love you” written all over her body. She enthusiastically asked Robbie to sign her arm. “Sometimes when you didn’t get the proper love needed at home, you look for love in different, and very often wrong, places,” explained Robbie. Through programming, Crossroads offers love and support to build up the individual again so he/she can prosper in society and maintain relationships for the future. Teens who have participated at Crossroads show a 90% increase in healthy behaviors and safe decisions in their lives.

The pre-Shavuot flower sale was a great success, raising over $2,000. Thanks to all our friends and family for coming out and supporting Jacklyn and Crossroads. Jacklyn was cutting, scraping thorns, arranging flowers and filling vases with water. Our entire family pitched in making and selling beautiful flower arrangements. Special thanks to my husband, Daniel; my kids Jeremy and Ally for helping out and to my son Louis, who was in Israel, lending his moral support.

As our daughter Jacklyn is becoming a bat mitzvah and soon, B”H, entering her teenage years, she is lucky to have loving parents and siblings who all contribute to the positive support system in her life. Crossroads becomes the support system to teens who may not have a strong one at home or school.

I couldn’t be prouder of Jacklyn for supporting Crossroads. Jacklyn is such a witty, happy and confident young lady. Her beautiful smile, angelic face and funny personality bring love and laughter to our home. Jacklyn, may you continue to grow and live up to your full potential. Mazal tov and kol hakavod.

Crossroads is a non-profit organization that relies on the Jerusalem municipality and private donations for funding. If you would like to learn more about the organization, please visit https://www.crossroadsjerusalem.org.

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