Building Hope in Qiryat Gat

Exciting news! At Tenufa Bakehila: Building Hope, we opened our doors in Qiryat Gat, Israel! So this week, I traveled to visit with some families we are assisting. I was greeted at the door by a friendly elderly Ethiopian woman urging me to sit down for a cup of traditional Ethiopian coffee. Now, if you know me, you know how much I love coffee, so this was a special treat! During this trip, I also met with the Tenufa Bakehila repairmen, social worker, and visited with a local community center. This is now Tenufa Bakehila‘s 8th city in Israel, with an estimated 80 families already lined up needing dire home repairs.


סנדו בית שמש במהלך
An Ethiopian woman shows Tenufa Bakehila her kitchen.


This day’s visit let me see into the more personal side of what people are facing. I visited one elderly couple’s home that had missing windows and were freezing every night and suffering ill health. And another example: what do you do if you’re an elderly person living alone, and the only place you have to bathe is a slippery bathtub you can’t get in and out of? One such woman was hardly bathing because she doesn’t have the mobility to climb into the tub to shower. We decided to install handicapped-accessible rails so she’ll have safe access to her bathtub.

Other problems of the home included: unsealed windows and doors letting in cold drafts, broken heating unit, leaking plumbing, and a missing toilet seat.

Another family had their hallway ceiling falling apart and chunks landing on their head as they walked by, and sections of the floor were missing. Outside one home, sewage was openly leaking and pouring out, creating bad structural damage and emitting a terrible smell..

Surveying the damage caused by leaking sewage.


Roe, Tenufa Bakehila repairman, replacing a floor.


Another spotlight: an immigrant single mother was struggling with 3 kids. Her entire home was falling apart –she had crumbling walls, leaking ceilings, and no lights. She was struggling with learning how to manage in a new place as many olim do. Tenufa Bakehila repaired her home, and introduced her to a social worker who connected her to financial resources, financial advising, employment training programs, parenting classes, and helped get her children placed in daycare/school so they would receive hot meals and education..

חדרה לפני

חדרה אחרי
Before and after pictures of a kitchen.

Our exciting opening in Qiryat Gat is amazing and we’re so happy and eager to help these families. But we get calls and messages on a daily basis from others needing our assistance in other cities. Unfortunately, we don’t have the operations to help in every city. To do this, we must continue to expand and raise the funds to pay for repairmen, social workers, and materials. Our goal is to help in every city in Israel. This is why we encourage people to donate, or to like and share our material to raise awareness about our cause.

In closing, I’d like to say that each family I meet makes me feel so much more motivated and inspired to keep promoting the wonderful things done by Tenufa Bakehila. I hope by reading it here it does the same for you. Please share this message with others, and come like our Facebook page to receive daily updates of families we’re helping and exciting news about our organization! Our website,, has a “Donate” button if you’d like to contribute to our cause.

I’d also like to say thank you for the warm response to my last blog post. The sentiments really mean a lot to us here at the Tenufa Bakehila office.

Cheers until next time,

Sarah Heiman

Tenufa Bakehila staff member


About the Author
Sarah Heiman made aliyah from Buffalo, NY in 2011 and works at Tenufa Bakehila, an Israeli non-profit organization that helps needy families with urgent home repairs. She is a single mom to a toddler boy and lives in Jerusalem. Sarah has a BA and MA (Rutgers-NJ) in Social Policy and Sociology and has spent years in non-profit management and content writing. She enjoys running, yoga, hiking, nature, travel, and spending time with her family and friends.
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