Lena Shemesh Rifkin: My Lamerhav experience

Lamerhav to me is like winning the lottery. This is an opportunity
not to be missed. Lamerhav is one big family that only knows how
to give and give, embrace and love, support and guide, and most
importantly, accepts you as you are!

How did you get to Lamerhav and what is your first memory
from the program?
I think that I arrived to the program in 2004 or 2005, two years
after I made Aliyah. My instructor from the Na'ale program heard
about the program, and so I came to the sorting reviews. My first
memory of Lamerhav, is that Shula Mozes opened the door and
offered me soup. This was the first time that I came to the
program. As early as the sorting process, I had a good feeling. I felt
that this was an open place that I could truly benefit from. Today, I
know I was right.

What meaningful experience do you remember from
I think the whole process I have undergone in Lamerhav for 9 (!!)
years was one meaningful experience that affected me and my life.
There is no specific moment or experience that I can say is most
meaningful. I look at the whole mentoring process and it was so
meaningful. I think that if I werent part of the program, I would
definitely be in a completely different place.

What did you get out of your time in Lamerhav?
The program and the counsellors gave me the feeling that I had a
safe place, that did not judge me. As for the mentoring, I had an
amazing mentoring process throughout my time in Lamerhav, with
two amazing counsellors, Orit and Adi Gal. The meetings were held

once a week or two, and over time they became an integral part of
my schedule. Every time I came to the program combined with the
meals, the house itself and the people, I felt that I had a place in
the world. I had quite a few struggles, and Lamerhav was like some
kind of a bubble that gave me the opportunity to take a pause,
gain strength and move on, to cope with all the difficulties. The
program literally helped me in all aspects of my life. I received such
tremendous support, without which I could not succeed, let alone
study and advance.

What message would you like to convey to young adults starting the program?
The message I want to convey to young adults is that they should
know how to properly use this award of being a young adult at
Lamerhav. To me, as I said, it is like winning the lottery. Believe
me that you are in good, loving hands. Trust the counsellors and
aim high. The sky is the limit!

Where are you today?
 I am 33 years old, married and mother of two daughters (6 and 3
years old). I work as a social worker in the Ichilov Medical Center.