The AMIT network of religious Jewish education strengthens Israeli society by educating and nurturing children from diverse backgrounds within a framework of academic excellence, Jewish values and Zionist ideals; and AMIT Children Southeast Regional Office is one of the organization’s most active.
By Andy Goldsmith, AMIT Exec VP and Robin Isaacson SE Regional Director
There’s much to celebrate on AMIT’s 90th anniversary. Coming from the most humble of beginnings as Americans for Israel and Torah, today AMIT is a respected name in the business of saving children, operating a network of 110 schools and surrogate homes throughout 29 cities in Israel, with strong focus placed on educating marginalized students in peripheral areas. Each day, over 28,000 Israeli children benefit in ways wondrous and immeasurable.
But saving children is nothing new for AMIT. The commitment towards Israel’s children started ninety years ago and it has become part of our heritage. In pre-state Israel, AMIT worked to resettle children in youth villages across Israel. Following the Holocaust, AMIT rescued hundreds of the newly orphaned, helping them to build lives of purpose. As Israel faced absorption challenges, AMIT did its part to help meet the needs of the North African, Ethiopian and FSU Aliyah.
But as Israel evolved, so did AMIT. In the early 1980s, AMIT was recognized by the government of Israel as a reshet [network] of schools. Today, it is the third largest in the nation and recognized as a leader in education innovation. Its core values of “no child left behind” and commitment to those most at risk infuse every aspect of the organization, leading to measurable and impressive outcomes. Over 95% of AMIT graduates continue on to the Israeli Army or National Service, a crucial step toward securing employment upon entering the job market in Israel. 80% of AMIT graduates pass the critically important national Bagrut exam—the official Israeli matriculation certificate attesting to graduation from high school—compared to the national average of 57%, despite economic needs, background, learning, challenges, and physical or emotional disabilities. In addition, AMIT is the only government-recognized network incorporating Jewish values education with academic and technological studies throughout Israel.
AMIT’s supporters throughout Florida have embraced Israel’s most vulnerable children by laying a foundation for their future with the Legacy Society contribution program and planned gifts, and strongly supporting a new ten million dollar capital campaign to renovate AMIT’s two foster homes, the Frisch Beit Hayeled and Kfar Blatt campuses. These children and teens come to AMIT having been forced away from their homes due to the worst types of violence, neglect, and physical, mental and sexual abuse. Children are placed with surrogate parents and they live in family units in a nurturing and rehabilitative environment. AMIT breaks the cycle of failure that has plagued families, turning children into productive and proud citizens of the state of Israel—truly the business of saving children.