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Nofar Lahav's story - Counselor

"In the last ten months I have re-learned what it is to love. I longed for love that did not depend on anything, and towards the year 2009 I hoped that it would indeed come ... and it came, it came from the most real place, from a place I could not expect or imagine. In the last ten months I have learned what it means to guide youth, and also, what it means to be 'a bit of a mother' ... "

Have you ever tried to wake 14 teenagers? Make sure you know at any given moment what is bothering them and what is sitting on their hearts? Let them feel like big people but be there the moment they need a warm shoulder? Be funny when needed and also mediate when needed?  Waking them up, turn off the lights, educational activities, Shabbat receptions, Bar Mitzvah celebrations and everything else? I did not know, but I learned.

I learned to ask "What did you eat today?", "Where does it hurt you?" And "Who are you hanging out with?"  It means to love,

I learned to pay attention to drooping eyes or a huge smile, means to love,

I learned that waking up in the morning with a smile and wishing “golden dreams” at night means loving. And yes, loving it also means leaving a little light by the bed, simply because darkness is not always pleasant.

I learned that even if everyday is challenging and saps my strength -  at the same time refills me with energy, and it means to love,

I have learned that one can be angry and it still means to love, because if we do not love, everything will pass into our hands and the emotions will become something that do not penetrate.

I learned that I can be the responsible adult and at the same time remain a girl, who understands children, who listens to them, who advises, who sets boundaries and is a mirror, who sometimes stops the tears so as not to cry with them and even be fun when they get carried away, and this means to love.

Love, like happiness, has infinite forms.


This year I got to know 14 teenagers, 14 worlds that are actually bigger than life itself...

After 10 months with them, I finally realized:

There were moments of anger, tears, breakdown and confusion, but every time I was with them I would forget everything around me, allowing them to penetrate my heart just as they allowed me to.

Maybe a family is not chosen, but the "Rotem" group was the family I chose and it chose me.

I chose to love and also won,

And all I have left is to say thank you and  I look forward to continuing my shared path with them... 

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