WE ARE ROOTED IN A VISION
The vision of a young pair of teachers, Amalia and Izac Levy, who held onto faith in the righteousness of their path, to lead them through its obstacles. Their faith manifested vision into reality.
In the early 60s, Izac Levy, a young teacher, needed a second income. At the time he was working at a special-education school in Tel Aviv, and to earn more money he started to guide and operate afternoon enrichment classes in youth villages and other therapeutic and educational facilities. He was in possession of three unique tools, which he employed to gain an advantage in the market: a harmonica, an accordion and a 16mm film projector. Thanks to these, using his musical talent, deep enchanting voice and hypnotizing acting skills, he quickly became a popular attraction.
“Izac the instructor” never learned to play, he simply played.
Any song, on any instrument.
As his side-job grew, Izac got invited to the Bar-Dror family auxiliary farm in Kfar Saba; the family fostered nine developmentally disabled people. He was expected to give them simple frontal performances, in line with the common notion of the time that “their level of understanding is low”. But Izac insisted on making the developmentally disabled active participants in the event, giving them key roles as heroes in the activities’ background stories.
A NEW APPROACH
For example, Izac would project movies for the participants in short segments, accompanying them with explanatory narration, and at the end of the movie he would arrange a role play with the viewers, putting them in the main characters’ shoes. In this manner, Izac’s first encounters with the developmentally disabled gave birth to the understanding that given the proper support, joy and humor, anyone can develop their skills, elevate their self-image and become the protagonist in their own story. This approach is a founding block for our endeavors in Amit to this day.
THE ZEBRAS LEAD NORTH
In the late sixties, a congress was held in Israel which discussed the methods of treatments offered to developmentally disabled people, and a decision was made there to attempt creating vacation opportunities such as camps and resorts for them. This innovative idea symbolized the recognition in the duty of the state to provide all the developmentally disabled people’s needs, including the need to go on vacation. Izac, who overheard some teachers discussing this matter in the school where he worked, immediately stepped up to take part in this important endeavor, and in light of his experience and educational approach, he was chosen to run the first summer camp.
On the right, Izac Levi, Native American day on the camp
ZEBRAS ON THE GRASS
In the following years Izac would run 3 cycles of the camp, 10 days each, every summer.
During these days the vacationers and staff would stay at a youth-village. Every day had a theme as a base for enriching, empowering experiential activities lead by the principles of Izac’s approach. For instance, they would watch a westerner, then divide into groups of “cowboys” and “Indians” and performed together on the football field as active and significant players in the story of the westerner. On “Tarzan” day everyone went on a journey through the jungle accompanied by a herd of “zebras” (donkeys painted with stripes…)
Naturally, , as Izac continued his work with developmentally disabled people, in 1973 he was asked by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services to run a government funded home in Migdal, neighboring Tiberias.
Amalia and Izac Levy became central figures in the Migdal community. The steps they took to form a staff with the local folk, and to establish the position of a government funded home manager, are considered, to this day, of significant professional influence and contribution to the field.
A NOSTALGIC VISIT AND A BRAVE PROMISE
In 1978, Izac, his wife Amalia and the young family decided to return to the center of the country.
Izac was sent by the Ministry to run Rohama home, which shared a fence with the Bar Dror farm, the same farm where Izac took his first steps in the field many years prior. In his first visit to Rohama, Izac decided to enter the farm, wanting to visit once again the place where his journey through the world of the developmentally disabled began.
When he walked in, he discovered that his old group still remembers him well and the meeting was emotionally impactful everyone present.
In that meeting, the Bar Dror family members told him they intended to sell the farm and leave Kfar Saba, and expressed their fear for the futures of those who lived under their foster. Izac, optimistic as usual, promised the family he would take care of them and asked for a few days to find the solution…
Izac returned home and told his wife Amalia about the touching encounter in Bar Dror farm and about the residents who were in risk of losing their home. As they discussed the matter that evening they realized they have no practical way of helping the Bar Dror family residents. That actually, save for a vision of a society that realizes its duty to promote equal rights for the disabled, and save for a dream to form a warm, supportive and promoting home for the developmentally disabled, save for these vision and dream, they had nothing to offer.
So they offered a vision and a dream.
Izac and Amalia Levi
“Bar Dror” home
Valor is the link between dream and reality. It took great courage and determined faith for Amalia and Izac to form the way towards their dream. Izac quit his job as manager of a government home, the two sold their three room apartment which they acquired with enormous effort, they rented the Bar Dror farm and in a string of steps which every financial advisor would consider a string of fatal errors they turned their vision into reality. In 1978 Amalia and Izac started “Bar Dror” home, a warm, supportive and promoting home for its residents even today.
Izac Levy was the manager of this home until his sudden untimely death in 1995.
FROM THE FAMILY TO THE FRIEND
THE FAMILY’S WAY
We are rooted in the vision of Amalia and Izac Levy and their daring way to materialize it.
The vision leads our family in forming the warm, supportive and promoting home of our residents.
A home which grows and evolves according to the needs of its residents and provides them with an empowering and nurturing stream of life.
We place the individual in the center, and hold up the state’s duty to promote equal rights, resulting in a high standard of uncompromising service.
This is our family’s way.
THE TORCH IS PASSED
In 1991 the son Raz and his wife Solly joined the family’s way, opening Amit Hostel in Ramla, its off-site apartments and Amit Boarding House and its extensions in Lod.
In 1995, with Izac’s sudden passing, his son Boaz joined Amalia in the management of Bar Dror and alongside the home’s development he created the “Beit Eyal” homes in Kfar Saba and Kfar Yona.
The way of the young pair of teachers, Amalia and Izac Levy, a way of faith in the power of the righteous vision against any obstacle, carries on.
AMIT MEANS FRIEND
In the early 90s Amalia and Izac accompanied Izac’s son, Raz, and his wife, Solly, on their way to open the first hostel in Ramla.
On the eve of its founding, in 1991, Solly and Raz asked Amalia and Izac for advice in naming the hostel, and they answered simultaneously – “Amit. Because Amit means friend.”
Izac used to say: “Where joy exists, dividers fall.” And we add:
“Where joy and friendship exist, dividers fall, and dreams fall into reality.”
This is our faith, our way, this is the way of the residents and the staff in Amit.
Amit means friend, a lifelong friend.
Amit means friend, a lifelong friend.