As part of our community blog content at ON THE MOVE, we present our interview series, where we invite movers to bring their thoughts not only on the physical move but on the intensely personal experience of moving house. Here we explore the spirituality and psychology of Home and why where we live means so much to us. We want to hear your story, please share it with us.
by Sherrill Layton
OTM donates its moving services to worthy causes, and the most recent group was gracious enough to continue sharing their vision with us.
Helping a Jerusalem family with 4 kids was the outcome when Building Hope was heartbroken to discover the 7-year-old had no bed and had been sleeping in a broken crib. Their social worker found an anonymous donation of a bed, and OTM offered to move the bed to the family.
The Tenufa Bakehila team also treated and fixed the peeling and moldy walls and repaired dysfunctional light figures and dangerous electrical sockets and switches. They were so glad to leave the family with a fresh, clean, and healthy home. Kol HaKavod!
We want to thank Sarah Heiman, Social Media Manager for Tenufa Bakehila, for taking the time to answer our questions and letting us share in the world of charity, at its best.
What problem is Tenufa solving for citizens?
Tenufa Bakehila: Building Hope is an Israeli non-profit organization that helps change the lives of Israelis living in poverty in 8 cities across Israel. It began because of the dire need for basic home repairs among thousands of impoverished families living in dilapidated and decaying houses. We help populations like the elderly, Holocaust survivors, physically or mentally disabled, single-parent families, new immigrants, terror victims and their families, and poverty-stricken soldiers. So we make these very necessary and urgent home repairs, and also bring in a social worker to see how we can help improve the family’s situation.
There are a lot of other charitable organizations, what makes Tenufa unique?
Tenufa Bakehila is the only organization in Israel that does this kind of work! We have a professional construction team to do the repairs, and social workers that visit each family to find out how to allocate resources and assistance. We don’t just fix peoples’ homes; we go a step further to help repair problems within the family.
It’s also amazing what fixing a person’s home can do to motivate them, inspire them, give them hope. When your surroundings are falling apart, dilapidated, and unhealthy, it can be so emotionally difficult to pull yourself out of the situation. Often we see families really inspired by having their surroundings transform into something healthy, safe, and bright.
Can you walk me through the process from receiving and giving a donation to the needy?
We rely on donations from Israel and abroad. They can be made through our website.
If someone has a service they would like to donate, we are happy to take volunteers. We also accept volunteers from companies who want to do a yom chesed (day of charity work). Sometimes people also call with furniture or appliances they would like to donate. We have a long list of clients around the country we can try to pair with the donation. More than anything, we really need money to keep operations going and hopefully to continue expanding and reaching more families.
In terms of fair distribution, what are you most worried and most excited about?
We are so excited about Tenufa Bakehila’s progress so far. We have services in 8 cities across Israel—we recently opened in Qiryat Gat where we have 80 families already lined up. Tenufa Bakehila has helped 3,800 families throughout Israel since it first began. It’s amazing how much we’ve grown and how many people we’ve helped get a fresh start to life. But there are so many more families across Israel that are in need of Tenufa Bakehila’s services. We are often contacted about needy families where we don’t have services yet. We receive phone calls and messages every day, and can only meet the demand for 1 out of 3 requests. We are looking to expand, but we need funds for more repairmen, social workers, and materials.
What kind of charity work do you wish to see in, say, 5 or 10 years? Who will do it, how will it be different?
Our goal is to keep expanding so we are located in every city, and so that every Israeli family gets the help they deserve. A breath of inspiration, a helping hand, to get them up and out of a bad situation. To provide healthy homes for families and children, and a brighter future.
If you want to be involved, or to receive daily news and updates, visit and follow the Tenufa Bakehila Facebook page.
Sherrill Layton is an editor, writer, and media ecologist with her own PR group, promoting local, earth-conscious small businesses, like OTM. From social media to academic articles, Sherrill focuses on honest relations and loving kindness.
You can find her on Twitter & LinkedIn.
Interviews and Culture Page
Here we share the (moving) moving stories of our fabulous clients, plus tidbits of information on Jewish culture and community to make your reading experience unforgettably enjoyable.