Leeza, who is 18 years old, is the youngest of eight children. When she was 10 years old, Leeza went to the office of Mrs. Kahn, the grammar school counselor. She sat down in a chair and began to cry. Mrs Kahn asked Leeza several times why she was crying but got no answer. Leeza cried, then stopped crying and was silent, got up from her chair, and left the counselor’s office without saying a word. This happened several times. Mrs. Kahn knew that Leeza must have something very important to say and thought it might be helpful to engage her in play therapy. Leeza picked up a doll and began slamming the doll against the floor, shouting, “I hate you!” Leeza told Mrs. Kahn about the terrible arguments her parents had on a regular basis. Leeza also said that her father would frequently swear at her and her mother, and often threw things at them. She confirmed that from time to time her father beat her mother and punished Leeza with inappropriate punishments.
One day Leeza became very serious and told Mrs. Kahn, “I cannot take it anymore; this isn’t life. I don’t understand why my mother stays with him, but I want to leave the house!” After conferring with the school principal, Mrs. Kahn contacted Israel’s Department of Social Services about Leeza’s disturbing story. They met with Leeza, Mrs. Kahn, some of Leeza’s teachers, and Leeza’s mother. After several meetings and careful consideration, the committee concluded that it was in Leeza’s best interest that she be removed from her home and sent to live in the safe and nurturing environment that Ahava Village for Children and Youth provides.
When Leeza arrived at Ahava Village she had the full support of the therapeutic team. After a period of adjustment, Leeza began to thrive. She made many friends and enjoyed participating in the social life at Ahava. She also had an opportunity to take dance classes and is very committed to continuing with them.
Today, eight years later, Leeza is studying very hard for her final (Bagrut) exams. Her teachers say that Leeza is on track to have a successful future.
Batya’s recovery from the surgery required physiotherapy using her hands to improve dexterity. As a challenge, she learned to play a keyboard instrument and joined the Ahava Music Band. Now 14 years old, the Ahava community thinks she will soon be able to reintegrate with her family, displaying a new self-confidence and awareness based on the accomplishments and understanding acquired at Ahava.