Since 1998, Isabela and Shmil Kaufmann have managed Yemin Orde’s Brazil program, providing a meaningful educational experience for the 35 youth in their care.
Congratulations to Yemin Orde educators, Shmil and Isabela Kaufmann, for receiving the Outstanding Educators Award from Israel’s Ministry of Education, Administration for Residential Settlement and Youth Villages.
Since 1998, Isabela and Shmil have managed Yemin Orde’s Brazil program. They are the “Mom and Dad” to our Brazilian youth providing advice, emotional support and ensuring all their needs are met.
Each year, 35 youth from Brazil come to Yemin Orde Youth Village for an excellent education and life experience. Most of them have no family in Israel and Yemin Orde is their only home. Isabela and Shmil are meaningful parental figures to these youth and are dedicated to their education and well-being.
“Isabela and Shmil are there for the graduates throughout their lives, in military ceremonies, happy events and crises. They are a real anchor for the kids and their families. In their everyday lives, which is their strength – they are always there, Shmil and Isabela are an example of what it means to be an educational figure in a youth village.”Shmuli Bing, Director, Yemin Orde Youth Village
Brazilian Youth Receive Excellent Education
The Brazilian Program at Yemin Orde was designed as a unique immigration track to help Brazilian youth, who come to Israel without family, better integrate into society. Just like the other at-risk youth at the Village, those from Brazil have experienced many challenges as children and into adolescence.
Additionally, coming to Israel means they must deal with cultural and language barriers without the support of their family. As a result, program activities are a combination of academics and emotional support; helping them foster self-confidence, develop their identity, a sense of belonging, and hope. Yemin Orde is their only home in Israel, and they often stay at the Village during longer breaks in school.
The program is for those from 10th to 12th grade, with around 35 students enrolled at one time. The structure is in accordance with the Brazilian calendar, running in three cycles from February to December. The core curriculum is adapted to that of the Brazilian system with additional studies in Jewish history, Bible, civics and Hebrew.
Field Trips Create Connections
The Kaufmanns also lead youth on trips throughout the country, to better understand Israeli history and society and feel a sense of connection to Israel and each other. At the Village, they take part in all extra-curricular activities, volunteer projects, celebrate holidays and Shabbat together as one community.
During the 12th grade, workshops and seminars are held to better acquaint these youth with what is expected during military service, if they choose to immigrate. Graduates from Brazil come to Yemin Orde to discuss their own experiences.
At graduation time, more than 70 percent of the students from Brazil make Aliyah and integrate into various post-high school areas – pre-military gap-year leadership programs, the military or higher education programs. Graduates who choose to return to Brazil report feeling more empowered to be involved in their local Jewish community there.