“Over the years, Shula Mozes has proven that volunteering in the community and contributing to the community is for her a way of life”.
In a festive, moving ceremony held in the Presidential Residence, marking Israel’s 70th anniversary, together with the President Mr. Reuven Rivlin, Ms. Mozes received the Presidential Volunteer Medal for having founded Lamerhav, and for her years-long and extensive activities for young Israeli adults without family support.
In the ceremony, Ms. Mozes’ life and contribution were described as follows:
Shula Mozes was born in Romania in 1952, and immigrated to Israel with her family at the age of 13. In 2001, she conceived and established the Lamerhav Program, which seeks to promote social change through extensive intervention in the lives of young adults without family backing. Ever since establishing the NGO, she has been its active chair, volunteering in ongoing activities herself, and providing personal support for young adults venturing out to their independent lives.
Almost two decades ago, Shula Mozes discovered that thousands of young adults in Israel are as lacking family backing. Without family support, they find it difficult to integrate in higher education and the job market, realize their potential and break the social glass ceiling above them. In order to help those young adults, living either in dysfunctional or unsupportive families or in out-of-home care settings (boarding schools, youth villages or foster families), she and her spouse Ze’ev founded Lamerhav. The NGO was first established in her home in Hod HaSharon, where she opened heart and her kitchen to hundreds of young adults. Within a few years, two additional houses were established, in Afula and Beersheba. Every year, some 500 young adults without family backing frequent these houses and receive support, consulting and coaching in all areas of life.
To provide a comprehensive solution for these young adults, Ms. Mozes developed an original and innovative model, which gives them the support and preparation they need for leading fully independent lives. This model includes individual and group counseling for a period of eight years – from twelfth grade to four years after the end of their military/national/civil service. Each young adult has an “individual suit” tailored for his or her needs. During their years in the program, the participants receive economic assistance, a supportive social network and a domestic community where they can belong. Program graduates complete academic studies or professional training, and integrate in significant positions in the job market. They develop social and interpersonal skills that enable them to start families and be good parents.
Ms. Mozes has devoted the past two decades to thinking about and contributing to the future of Israeli society, volunteering and investing considerable time and money in promoting young adults with no family backing. She is also active in other initiatives and organizations that promote reforms in voluntary activities in Israel and act to form extensive collaborations across organizations and donors – all for the sake of young adults without family backing in Israel.
In the words of Prof. Suzie Navot, the chairman of the 2018 Presidential Volunteer Medal’s advisory committee: “Sula Mozes, one of the twelve individuals and organizations chosen are the pillars of an exemplary society, one where friendship, aid, strengthening and the struggle for equality is recognized by. The strength of a society is also measured by its weaker parts, based on its ability to bridge the gaps and correct injustices. It is measured by mutual responsibility, compassion and humanity. Each in their own field – they are an inspiration for values such as honor and camaraderie. Their years-long daily work is commendable. Their volunteering has left a deep mark on the Israeli society and it fulfills one of the Torah’s great principles: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”