Founded in 1899, Zion orphanage is the world’s oldest Jewish orphanage. It’s based in the heart of Jerusalem and houses children, families, and even an entire school! After more than a century of caring for boys in crisis, the orphanage has perfected its care plan. Its varied activities and unique set up ensure that every child gets a fair chance in life.
In its early stages, the Zion Orphanage was a refuge for children whose parents were killed in pre-Israel Mandatory Palestine. It accepted children whose poverty-struck parents could not longer care for them, as well as the children of refugees. With time, this has changed: many of its wards have parents who are mentally ill, abusive, or suffer from addiction.
Today, the acre-large campus is home to more than 130 boys. Many live in special “mishpachton” settings: 12 young couples live in family homes on campus with groups of boys. The boys’ dorms maximise their privacy: no more than four children share each large bedroom.
Zion Orphanage does more than “just” educate their boys. As well as a full-time, on-site school, the centre is committed to nurturing the boys’ creativity and passions. They offer an extensive range of activities and classes, including martial arts, sports, arts and crafts, and gymnastics.
They also provide amazing therapy options, such as animal therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. Additionally, the campus has a fully-stocked library and computer lab. The combination of therapies and classes mean that their students can go on to be happy, fulfilled, successful adults who contribute to Israeli society.
The Zion Orphanage believes that every child deserves a fair chance. That’s why they work so hard to provide a safe, nurturing, and positive environment for their boys. The orphanage is inspired by the Talmud’s teaching: “One who saves a life has saved an entire world.” They see this happen every day.
The Heart of Israel fund is proud to include the Zion Orphanage as one of our charities. Their work gives orphaned and abandoned children the chance to grow into happy, balanced adults.
Click here to donate to the Heart of Israel and Zion Orphanage. Our collective giving initiative means that every penny donated goes further and helps more people than donations to a single charity ever could.