Centers for Young Adults – Beyond the Walls of the Center
In Israel, JDC operates over 40 Centers for Young Adults (CYA) in partnership with local communities and the Government of Israel. These Centers empower nearly 45,000 young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as new immigrants, children of immigrants and those from at-risk circumstances. The CYAs provide a range of counseling in higher education and employment, offer opportunities for community involvement and leadership, as well as promote cultural and social activities. The CYAs provide assistance to young adults at the individual level and collectively, as a community.
While many institutions have been closed because of the conflict or because of summer vacation, the Centers for Young Adults have been active in their communities. The Centers have arranged dialogue sessions and opportunities for the local community to grieve together. Many CYAs have organized visits to local hospitals to call on soldiers who have been injured in the war and offer them and their families care packages.
A Personal Story: Moshe Malko z"l
Staff Sargent Moshe Malko z"l, was a 20-year old Ethiopian-Israeli from Jerusalem, who was involved with his local Center for Young Adults. On Sunday, July 20th, Malko and six other Golani soldiers were killed in Gaza when their armored vehicle hit an explosive and caught fire. Malko's family was devastated. As they grieved they had concerns about whether enough people would allow them to hold a daily minyan during the shiva, as well as where they would find the resources to provide refreshments to visitors who came to pay their respects. The family has limited means – in fact Moshe was known to contribute most of his salary from the army to help cover household expenses. The local CYA coordinator reached out to the family and gave them the assistance they needed. Through the CYA, he helped organize the shiva and provided food and drinks. He also reached out to the local community to ensure that enough people attended the shiva.
Through the CYA, the Malko family was able to give their son the honor he deserved.