As Chanukah approaches, the Zion boys are hard at work designing their custom menorahs. A generous supporter recently donated the clay-baking oven which now enables the boys to produce hand-crafted earthenware gems, from start to finish.
With the recent record-breaking cold in Israel, the Zion boys are grateful for their new pillows and blankets, donated by Rabbi and Mrs. Eli Mansour of the Bet Yaakob synagogue in Brooklyn, New York.
You could feel the energy in the air during a recent fun-filled evening of group competitions. Pictured here, in the courtyard of Zion Orphanage, the boys engage in a modified skateboard race.
Many of the Zion boys who visited Poland related that the most emotionally impactful experience of the trip was their visit to the southern Polish village of Zbylitowska Góra, near Tarnów 71 km (44 mi) east of Kraków.
From June 1942 until 1943, during the Final Solution, the Germans used the close by Buczyna forest as a mass execution site. The largest mass shooting took place on June 11th,1942. The massacre took the lives of 6,000 Jewish men, women and children including 800 children from the Tarnów Orphanage, killed in the pits using hand grenades.
Some of the Zion boys on the trip are pictured at the forest memorial where they took turns reading excepts from stories about the place.
One of them read that the Nazis, before killing the children, had them first remove and neatly fold their cloths and lineup their shoes before entering the pit to be murdered.
Some Zion boys stopping off at a sand-filled playground on their way to the beach on the Mediterranean Sea.
A Zion Orphanage tradition is to have numerous special activities the week of Purim, this year taking place the end of next week. The boys who did not choose to design their own masks are picking from an array of makeup to decorate their faces.
Boys from our Zion Band and Choir recently spent many hours in a professional recording studio in Jerusalem, producing a new CD. Pictured here, as viewed through the studio glass booth, Zion boys focus intently on their recording session.
Our highly-successful "Mishpachtone" family units consist of an energetic young couple and a group of twelve Zion boys. This unique arrangement provides a genuine sense of caring family life. Here the boys share together some quiet reading time.
Pictured are the Zion boys enjoying a model Pesach seder in preparation of the exciting first night of Passover.
Also shown are coverings for matzah, products of our arts and crafts program.
The Zion Orphanage children wish you a happy and healthy festive Passover holiday!
A century ago at Zion Orphanage, it was common to have 10 or more boys in one room. Today, with our highly-acclaimed "Mishpachtone" family units, each child has a maximum of three roommates. Pictured here is a Zion boy reading a book from our well-stocked Zion Library.
Our Big Brother program is a crucial component of the Zion boys' development. With all the caring and friendly teachers, house parents and therapists, none compares to the feeling of closeness and openness with a "big brother." Armed with great patience and outstanding listening skills, they walk together, go out for a bite together, study together and share life stories.
Zion boys enjoy a trip to northern Israel and Mount Hermon, the country's tallest peak. A cable car ride up the mountain offers fresh mountain air and panoramic vistas.
Zion Orphanage founder Rabbi Blumenthal was a master at empowering children with self confidence and the skills to become accomplished members of society.
Featured this week is the Zion choir, an unbroken chain of tradition introduced by Rabbi Blumenthal over 70 years ago.
The picture from 1954 is from the grand opening of the current Zion Orphanage location on the corner of Hoshea and Yechezkel streets in Jerusalem.
With seemingly boundless energy, Zion boys love to explore and play on our one-acre campus in the heart of Jerusalem.
There is nothing like music to light up the soul. At ZO, musical instruments are a powerful form of self-expression and confidence builder. Pictured here is a Zion boy who has fallen in love with the drums.
A few Zion boys were treated on Thursday to a delicious dinner at a local restaurant here in Jerusalem. The dishes including individual pizzas with the toppings of their choices, milkshakes, Belgian waffles and ice cream.
The occasion marked ten years since the passing of a ten year old boy who was tragically killed by a passing car. Joining the kids was the sponsoring family from Tel Aviv whose son was a close friend of the boy.
Every day the Zion boys return home from school at 4 p.m., in time for a hot meal and afternoon activities. Pictured are the boys enjoying a summer picnic with a staff counselor.
This week the Zion boys were ecstatic over the story and gifts each one received.
An organization by the name of "Children Giving To Children International" based in San Diego, CA, matched up a local synagogue with Zion Orphanage. They worked for months making handmade blankets. Then the heads of the organization brought the beautiful and warm blankets to Israel in order to enjoy giving them to each child.
Following the coat campaign the Zion boys enjoyed a field trip to chilly but beautiful Northern Israel.
For those who participated in providing the much needed jackets, THANK YOU!
Featured this week is the newly-built on-campus Zion recording studio.
The Zion boys in the music program are hard at work recording and performing for the newest Zion Orphanage clip which will be made available for your enjoyment in the coming weeks.
At a recent ZO Bar Mitzvah event, a popular Israeli singer stopped by to honor the Bar Mitzvah boy and give an impromptu performance. As one of Jerusalem's oldest and most respected institutions, Zion Orphanage is the beneficiary of frequent visits from leading Israeli rabbis, politicians, and performers.
At ZO, one of the many fun, experiential activities is cooking and baking. An effective way to develop creativity and independence, the boys gain a firsthand sensory experience, both in preparing the food and enjoying the delicious results.
Yesterday evening the Zion Orphanage shared in celebrating the dedication of our campus mini-zoo, primarily used for animal-assisted therapy.
Visiting from the USA was the dedicating family along with friends, featured in this weeks picture together with some Zion boys.
Following delicious pizza, ice cream cones and drinks and some words about the dedication, the visiting group and Zion boys danced with lots of enthusiasm.
Every child loves birthday gifts
As the Zion boys are doing their final costume shopping they are gearing up for one of the most exciting days of the year. When most locations in the world begin the festive holiday of Purim Wednesday evening, in Jerusalem we begin Thursday evening.
Our recent Summer Camp featured the exotic and exciting adventure of rappelling. Here, a professional instructor explains to the enthralled Zion boys the guidelines for a safe and successful activity.
One of the most enjoyable activities for Zion boys is making their own Purim costumes. Nothing quite matches the pleasure of working hard on a project, then personally benefiting from it and sharing it with others.
Last night the Zion boys were treated to playing with the popular Japanese toy LaQ. Teaching the children was visiting Japanese native Masashi.
The Zion boys look forward to our annual chess and checkers tournament. Among the many benefits of this activity is teaching the boys patience, strategy, and to carefully consider consequences before "making the next move."
This past Tuesday, November 30th, Israeli Parliament (Knesset) minister David Azulay passed away.
Born in Morocco, David Azulay came to Israel at age five in 1963 with his family. Two years later he entered his new home, the Zion Orphanage, where he remained for seven years.
David later began a 20-year teaching career. With time he became the school's assistant principal and later the principle. Recognized and appreciated as being exceptionally gifted, he was asked to join the city's municipality and for years he worked in both education and in politics.
In 1997 David became a member of the Knesset, serving for over 20 years representing the Sephardic political party. During his political career he focused primarily on social welfare issues, sitting on numerous committees involving education, public health, environment, security and finance.
May his memory always be a source of inspiration.
Now that the beautiful springtime weather in Israel has arrived the Zion boys are wasting no time in taking advantage of it.
Pictured are the kids jumping from the campus playground.
A Zion boy enjoying our arts and crafts program.
The Zion boys are completing their arts and crafts project in anticipation of the festive holiday of Pesach.
Featured are some of their hand painted matzoh covers.
The Zion boys have been taught that Yom Kippur, along with the holiday's physical deprivation such as fasting and refraining from wearing comfortable leather shoes, is the most meaningful and impactful day of the year.
It is the day in which we focus almost exclusively on peeling away our mundane layers of superficiality in order to reach our true selves. A time designed to ignite that part deep inside of us capable injecting eternity into the rest of our being.
This week the Zion boys enjoyed an amazing day at Israels unique Yamit 2000 water park.
Yamit is located in the city of Holon near Tel Aviv on 15 acres of land (60 dunams). There are 20 different kinds of slides and a variety of swimming pools including one that produces waves. There is also a spa were the boys were able to workout and relax in an array of jacuzzis.
In the days leading up to Purim, the Zion boys enjoy making their own masks. The process begins with molding a custom-fit clay masks. Once the mask is dry, each boy paints something creative. Similar to the Talmudic insight that "Just as no two faces are alike, so too each person is unique," each of the Zion boys' masks ended up being distinct.
Following an exceptional rainy winter the rivers and steams in Northern Israel are flowing steadily and with force.
Yesterday the Zion boys enjoyed a full day of hiking, swimming and camping in the Upper Galilee.
At Zion Orphanage, we emphasize our Jewish heritage as the "People of the Book." Our full-stocked reading library provides hours of enriching activity for the Zion boys.
Zion Orphanage recently celebrated the publication of a stunning book that chronicles the century-plus history of the orphanage. Our founder, Rabbi A.Y. Blumenthal, pioneered the practice of providing not just a place of refuge, but the highest standards of a stable, healthy environment
Springtime generates feelings of renewal and vitality as expressed by fresh, blossoming flowers. Working with plants can be a rewarding and therapeutic experience. Here a professional gardener teaches the Zion boys techniques for nurturing plants, along with a deeper appreciation of the wonders of creation.
Every child cherishes the experience of riding a new bicycle, especially when it's "his own." A generous supporter from New York recently purchased beautiful new bikes for the Zion boys.
For most Zion boys, Hebrew is their only spoken language. Many visitors to our Jerusalem campus have inquired about the need for the boys to learn English, the universal language. Thanks to a recent donation, we hired Rabbi Chaim Gogek, a language teacher with an outstanding reputation and over 30 years of experience. The English classes are animated and fu, with the boys quickly acquiring their new language skills.
One highlight of ZO's annual Summer Camp is rafting down the Jordan River, north of the Sea of Galilee. Due to its rich biblical and spiritual importance, the Jordan River, provides inspiration for countless songs, stories, and fun for the Zion boys.
Along with skateboarding, ping pong, swimming and team sports, martial arts is one of the physical activities enjoyed by the Zion boys. In addition to the benefits of daily exercise, each participant gains confidence in his ability to defend himself and others when necessary. Here the Zion boys receive training in Krav Maga, the Israeli self-defense system.
During the cold winter months, the Zion boys require quality blankets in order to sleep comfortably warm. A few years ago, a family of generous supporters from Brooklyn who sell comforters contacted us, insisting on providing the boys with natural goose-feather blankets. Now, to accommodate the increasing number of boys under our care, they purchased another 70 sets of comforters, down pillows and beautiful sheets.
Every Jewish boy looks forward to his Bar Mitzvah. At Zion Orphanage, we strive to make the day extra-special, with live music, dignitaries, and a lavish meal. Pictured here is a recent Bar Mitzvah celebration held across from the Western Wall.
Bamba is an Israeli snack enjoyed by children throughout the world. Made from peanut butter-flavored puffed corn, Bamba contains no cholesterol, preservatives or food coloring and is enriched with vitamins. Recently, the Zion boys enjoyed competing to produce the most creative design by sticking the Bambas together with toothpicks.
A Zion Orphanage martial arts student practicing in the city what he has learned in our Krav Magga self-defense program.
This past Thursday evening, the third candle lighting of Chanukah, six Zion boys celebrated their Bar Mitzvahs.
Pictured are the birthday boys watching Israel's Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef share words of insight and inspiration.
Also shown are the Zion choir performing; The Zion band playing along; And a partial glimpse of the crowd under an outdoor tent built to keep the 250 participants nice and warm.
Our annual Summer Camp features hiking in the fresh-water streams of the Golan Heights. The boys get a change of scenery, fresh air, and an appreciation of the beauty of our natural world. After a full day of activities, the Zion boys pass out from exhaustion
With the weather warming up in Israel, the Zion boys look forward to field trips throughout the beautiful and diverse Land of Israel. If you are visiting Israel during these summer months, please come by to meet the children and staff.
During this quite a warm week here in Israel the Zion kids especially enjoyed the new ice making machine.
Our ZO photography course provides new perspectives and appreciation for the world around them. The blue affect in this photo, taken by one of the Zion boys, is the result of a black light used to light up the room.
What has now become an annual winter excursion, this week the Zion boys visited the Hamat Gader hot springs.
Located right off of Israel's freshwater Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) in the southern part of the Golan Heights, the gushing springs of therapeutic hot thermal water were an absolute delight to bathe and swim in during the cold winter night. The hot springs resort was reserved solely for the Zion kids from 1:00 - 3:00 am.
Yesterday evening the Zion kids were joined by a generous family from New York in Israel to celebrate their Bar Mitzvah. Wanting to share their joy with children less fortunate than them, the younger Zion boys thoroughly enjoyed the incredible Israeli juggler entertainer Yosef Broide, live music performed Zion's band and delicious pizza and ice cream. Mazal tov!
The Zion boys enjoy an array of computer activities including games, graphics and typing documents.
Aside from two separate rooms full of computers, one for the younger kids and one for the older kids, each family unit enjoys its own computer (pictured).
Over 100 years ago, our founder Rabbi A.Y. Blumenthal emphasized confidence-building activities that enhance creativity and imagination. Today, whether it's music, photography, computers or electronics, these activities stimulate the Zion boys' social, emotional, linguistic and cognitive capabilities.
In anticipation of the festive holiday of Succot, the Zion boys are busy with an arts and crafts project
The Zion kids love swimming. Besides the great fun involved, learning how to manage in water is one of those essential skills everyone should know.
Although there is no pool on campus, the boys are treated to regular swimming outings at one of the local public swimming pools in the city of Jerusalem.
The Zion boys recently enjoyed delicious ice cream cones at a local favorite ice cream store.
Although it's been quite cold here in Jerusalem, there was a break from the rainy weather. Besides, kids tend to like ice cream no matter what the weather.
This week the Zion boys are enjoying the newly installed cushioned playground floor thanks to the generosity of some Zion Orphanage supporters.
This week some of the Zion high school age boys began a course in designing and printing three dimensional objects (pictured).
Using a computer the students first design a custom-made 3D item and then print it. The object gradually appears as the 3D printer forms it using a special biodegradable plastic.
Computer skills are an essential part of today's education. Our dual-faceted course provides both the basic ability of working with computers, as well as entrance to a higher level proficiency. Computer graphics, combining creative and technical, is now part of the Zion boys' standard curriculum.
Rabbi Reuven Elbaz, a beloved leader of Sephardic Jewry, is a frequent visitor to Zion Orphanage. Here he speaks at a Zion boy's Bar Mitzvah celebration.
Nachman Porat, the outstanding drumming instructor in Zion Orphanage, performs professionally with the popular Israeli band Minagnim.
Pictured is Nachman performing for the Zion boys along with his full band during a recent celebration. Also pictured is a Zion boy practicing drumming.
On an evening outing, Zion boys enjoy a sculpture located near Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem.
Prior to summer vacation the Zion kids enjoyed an evening of entertainment featuring a show by "Nekuda Tova" (literally, "a Good Point"), an Israeli performing arts group.
This historical photo from 1967 shows Zion boys at the newly-liberated Western Wall in Jerusalem.
All of the Zion Orphanage kids wish you an enjoyable and enlightened Hanukah.
The first night of Hanukah begins this coming Sunday evening.
For the Zion boys, prayer is an opportunity to open their heart and develop their inner world. The Zion boys' prayers have a unique power, as King David states in Psalms, "God is the Father of all orphans."
Zion boys enjoy a camel ride in the Negev desert.
A cold spell has hit Jerusalem and a number of Zion boys lack warm winter coats. Each coat costs $86 (USD) and 40 boys are in need.
Help with this urgent 24-hour campaign to bring physical and emotional warmth to these precious Zion boys who come from challenging backgrounds.
Give the "gift of warmth" today!
The Zion Choir performs at an event attended by guests and dignitaries. The choir, a source of great pride and esteem for the Zion boys, has produced a CD of four songs, as well as music videos.
A new photography course on the Zion campus began a few weeks ago. It is providing the boys with the skills and discipline to become proficient photographers – while stimulating creativity, imagination, and the expression of emotions and feelings through pictures.
Each boy will choose his favorite pictures and write a series of brief descriptions. These photos will then be placed on display for all the Zion boys, staff and visitors to enjoy.
This picture was taken by one of the boys in the program.
The Talmud (Ketubot 111b) says: "Better than providing the physical nourishment of milk, is providing the spiritual nourishment of a smile."
Your gift to the Zion Dental Fund will help 26 Zion boys in urgent need of serious orthodontic treatment -- providing the confidence to allow their inner light to burst forth with a smile!
Often, a child arriving at Zion Orphanage is in survival mode. For many, the act of caring for animals, as part of our animal-assisted therapy, is an effective way to spark a turnaround in attitude. Here a Zion boy connects with animals at our popular on-campus mini-zoo.
The Zion Orphanage kids wish you a happy and healthy Rosh Hashana, New Year!
This week Israel experienced the first rain of the winter season. It still remains warm enough, though, for the Zion kids to enjoy some water fun at a local park here in Jerusalem.
When you enter the courtyard of Zion Orphanage, you can hear sounds usually heard only in a zoo or the wilderness. Our on-campus "mini-zoo" houses raccoons, hamsters, rabbits, talking parrots, birds, a snake, flying squirrels, a tarantula, fish and more. These comprise the foundation of our acclaimed animal-assisted therapy program.
During one of the the recent Hanukah parties the Zion boys danced with all of their energy.
In anticipation of an upcoming performance, members of the Zion Choir practice their choreographic moves.
Winter has arrived here in Israel. Wednesday's dinner included a delicious hot bowl of vegetable soup.
This Saturday night, the holiday Shavuot, more than 100 Zion boys will remain awake throughout the night studying Torah and involved in meaningful activities.
You can help sponsor the festive holiday meals and snacks to invigorate the Zion boys’ learning.
Donate now -- and enjoy the merit of the Zion boys' Shavuot Torah study!
Through the generosity of a donor, the Zion boys were recently treated to an elaborate ice cream party, with various flavors and toppings. The sweet taste is a message to them of how much people care.
This past Saturday evening generous supporters from Brooklyn, New York, treated the Zion kids to an evening of fun. They were in Israel to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of two of their boys and wanted to share the joyous occasion.
The activities included a Krav Maga demonstration, a Chanukah arts and crafts project and lots of dancing.
After a stimulating day at school, this Zion boy enjoys some gymnastics
Zion Orphanage is located in downtown Jerusalem on one acre of land. In the central courtyard of our campus is a jungle gym that offers the Zion boys a healthy release of energy.
During this past winter the Zion Orphanage campus received a uniquely designed water and air heating system.
Standard gas and electric heating systems tend to be quite expense and harm the environment. The new system collects heat from the environment and accumulates it in a huge hot water reservoir (pictured), while producing additional heat through a process of gas compression.
The pumps operate with high efficiency, work quietly, do not pollute the environment and is saving the Orphanage 70% of the previous heating costs.
Snow falls in Jerusalem only once every few years. Here the Zion boys enjoy a good-natured snowball fight in the courtyard of our Jerusalem campus.
Thank you to all who responded generously to our recent postal Passover mailing highlighting the new campus student residence campaign.
Apparently, some experienced difficulty donating online. Please take this opportunity now to help the Zion boys.
A group of the oldest Zion boys just returned from spending a week in the European cities of Warsaw and Cracow, Poland. The intention was for them to gain a taste of the Holocaust and life in Eastern Europe that led up to the war.
As interesting as the boys found the history, the deepest and lasting impression will be from the broadening their minds. It was the first time they traveled abroad.
The pictures were taken by one of the Zion boys as they visited the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau.
The weather is still pleasant here in Jerusalem. This week the Zion boys enjoyed skating and other sports activities in the city's largest park, Gan Soccer.
This winter Israel has been benefiting from an abundance of rainfall. Along with the rain, Northern Israel has seen much snow. That meant super-special fun for the Zion boys who enjoyed an afternoon on Mount Hermon located 2800 meters/9200 feet above sea level.
A few days ago three more Zion Orphanage kids celebrated their Bar Mitzvah.
During the joyous celebration our Zion boys choir performed.
In the Zion Arts and Crafts program the children are hard at work.
With enthusiastic anticipation the children are creating their personalized Purim masks to be worn as part of their Purim costumes.
Pictured are some Zion boys performing during the annual Purim play.
The Zion Orphanage children and staff wish you a very happy and uplifting Purim celebration!
Major dental-orthodontic work is crucial to fulfilling the Zion Orphanage pledge: to give each boy the best opportunity possible to succeed and excel in life. Please contribute towards this campaign.
A special springtime treat is an outing to the local amusement park. Here, the Zion boys gain their composure before embarking on a thrilling ride.
A Zion photography course student captured the beginnings of a cucumber grown in our agriculture course.
He explains that once the flower dries up a tiny cucumber will appear. In a matter of less than three weeks a fully developed organic vegetable will be ready to be picked and enjoyed straight or cut into a salad.
Zion Orphanage prides itself on creating a sense of family and caring among the boys. Pictured here is a festive Bar Mitzvah celebration, with music provided by the Zion Band and Choir.
At Zion Orphanage, we encourage a balance of healthy body, mind and soul. Here, some Zion boys enjoy creative gymnastics in our indoor exercise facility.
Prior to enjoying a festive Bar Mitzvah celebration in the evening, the Zion Bar Mitzvah boys and their friends pray at the Jerusalem Old City Kotel (Western Wall).
For those with talent and the opportunity to learn, there is nothing like producing your own music. Zion boys love their keyboard lessons
With five weeks left before the festive holiday of Purim the Zion boys are beginning the next arts and crafts project. They are making custom-fit masks.
The kids begin with a net and apply plaster. Once the masks are dry they paint the masks as they wish.
During the past month Israel has been enjoying much needed rain. One of the many benefits is an increased flow of water in the Jordan River, enjoyed by the Zion boys during the recent rafting trip.
The Zion boys are full of healthy energy. Summer or winter, day or night, our new rooftop Sports Center provides protection from the elements and space for the boys to enjoy a variety of athletics including soccer, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and more.
With war an unfortunate part of Israel's history, abandoned tanks, planes and halftracks dot the landscape. Here the Zion boys enjoy climbing on a tank turned into a jungle gym.
This weeks picture features a collage of the Zion boys preparing Middle Eastern dishes during their cooking course.
Teaching self-sufficiency is a constant objective in our work with the Zion boys. We recently held a cooking contest, where the boys divided into groups, each equipped with all the food and equipment needed to prepare a full-course meal. The results far exceeded exceptions, with all participants, including the judges, thoroughly enjoying the process and the delicious concoctions.
Photography is one of the most popular activities at Zion Orphanage. Here, one Zion boy takes a creative photo of another, reflected in the window of his bedroom.
In honor of Zion boys' birthdays, we strive to provide a memorable experience that includes popular singers, jugglers and clowns.
As part of the new agriculture program the Zion high school age boys build their own on-campus garden (pictured upper left) including the fenced in area and the digitally run irrigation system. This week they enjoyed eating the first grown vegetables, long yellow beans.