Refugee Children at Gan Nitzanim

When I first stepped foot in the Gan Nitzanim classroom, little did I know the life-changing experience I was about to have.  As the days progressed, I became accustomed to the kids’ daily schedule of playtime, songs, breakfast, and outdoor time and the close relationships they share with their teachers.  Beyond the basic workings of the Gan, I quickly came to learn the names and adore the personalities behind the bright-eyed, adorable, and precocious children aged three through seven who made up Gan Nitzanim.  When the Jerusalem sun was brutal or I came across difficulties understanding/speaking Hebrew in the classroom, a hug from one of the kids truly made each day so special.  Over time, I also understood the origins of certain behavioral patterns as I heard the traumatic stories of the preschoolers’ families and the difficult journeys made in order to live and work in the land of Israel.  It was difficult to come to terms with the fact that many of the kids whom I had come to know and love would likely not be attending school the following year if their families had been sent back to their country of origin.  I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity to be a part of such a special community to provides a vital service to its members who are all too often overlooked in the midst of intense political strife.  Even though I was only in their classroom for three weeks, I will never forget the memorable time I spent with Gan Nitzanim.

Warm regards and thank you for this incredible opportunity,

Gabriella Meltzer

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