Much has been written about the world’s heroes — big and small — but sometimes making a major difference in someone’s life doesn’t take a single word.
Six months ago, when Michal Taviv-Margolese started working as the Western Regional director for AMIT, a nonprofit operator of 108 schools in Israel, she started thinking more seriously about charity.
When the Etta Israel Center was hit by the recent economic downturn, its leaders weren’t satisfied with simply surviving the crisis, as they sought to provide services, including group homes, to local people with special needs. They wanted to grow.
Lauren Levine is settling in with a group of friends apartment to watch “American Idol,” when a look of panic comes over her face. She rummages around, finds her keys and darts out.“I left the hair thing on,” she says when she returns, breathless, from her own apartment downstairs. “I was straightening Jasmine’s hair before we came up here, and I forgot to turn it off. Wow. That was close.” Levine has wide blue eyes accentuated with sparkly eye shadow, and her voice is spiced with a sense of interested wonder.
The Etta Israel Center runs programs to teach Judaism to developmentally challenged children and young adults, as well as group homes for adults (its third home will open in the Valley in June) and a popular summer day camp. It helps Jewish day schools meet the learning needs of all its students, and has trained thousands of teachers in how to help all children learn through its Schools Attuned programs.
Families of individuals with special needs often feel a sense of helplessness and isolation from the community, as well as confusion about how to best help their loved ones. In an effort to give families the tools to cope with these issues, Etta Israel Center (EIC) will hold its second annual retreat May 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Shaarey Zedek Congregation in North Hollywood
For the first time in Los Angeles history, a Jewish home for the developmentally disabled is opening. Situated in North Hollywood, the home, under the supervision of the Etta Israel Center, will house six males in their mid-20s.