close Contact Us
Neve Hanna Children House
Kiryat Gat, Israel. PO Box 222
Children’s Home

Neve Hanna is home and family to children and adolescents who have been removed from home due to physical and psychological violence, neglect and sexual abuse. Around 80 children ages 6-18 live here. About 45 additional children join our daycare programs and return home every night.

Family-Like Units

Young children

In Neve Hanna, children live in family-like units of 12-14 children accompanied by an educational staff: a housemother, a counselor, an Israeli volunteer and a volunteer from abroad, mainly from Germany. Staff members accompany the children since early morning and until bedtime, offering each and every child plenty of love and care, attention and support. Each family unit has a house of its own. Boys and girls stay on separate floors. Up to three children share a room with an adjacent bathroom. The houses are spacious and contain, aside from bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a dining area and a laundry room as well as a computer corner. The family unit functions like an ordinary family and runs a normative daily routine so that children feel they live in a regular home where laundry is done, food is prepared and where they play and watch TV together.


Neve Hanna was established in 1974. At first there were two houses built at the outskirts of a small town in the Northern Negev, Kiryat Gat. Neve Hanna gradually developed and expanded in size, as new houses were built. In the 1990's, a daycare was opened for children who did not live on grounds but take part in the afternoon activities and therapies offered to Neve Hanna children. Today, Neve Hanna children's home includes houses, offices, a social hall with a synagogue and a library, a petting zoo, a bakery, a sports yard and a playground, as well as other rooms for leisure time activities and a large community hall for gatherings.

Ventures and Awards

The establishment of the bakery was one of Neve Hanna's key ventures. The bakery mainly serves as an educational and therapeutic tool: it teaches children about work ethics and business management while promoting their well being through occupational therapy. Additionally, children who work at the bakery make some pocket money and learn to value work in order to live independent and self-sufficient lives. Also, Neve Hanna graduates who need an interim job solution before entering the free market may work at the bakery. Neve Hanna's vision of tolerance, international understanding and peace translates into action in a project for Jewish and Bedouin children and youth who meet for group therapy, discussion and rehearsals on a play they stage together. In 1991, Neve Hanna won the most prestigious prize awarded to children's homes: the award of the President of the State of Israel for outstanding contribution to Israeli children's welfare, to the protection of their rights and of their dignity.

Hanni Ullmann

Hanni Ullmann established Neve Hanna in 1974, naming it after her friend, Hanna Kaphan, a German pedagogue. The two women met at the "Ahawa" Jewish orphanage in Berlin where they both worked in the 1920's. In her will, Hanna Kaphan bequeathed her restitution money she received from Germany to the establishment of a children's home in Israel and asked Hanni Ullmann to execute her will.

Hanni Ullmann, born Hanna Risch in August 10, 1908 in Poznan, studied in Berlin. As a preschool teacher, she worked at "Ahawa" (Love), an orphanage for Jewish children and youth in Berlin. In 1929 she immigrated to the Land of Israel out of Zionist motives. As the Nazi regime began persecuting European Jewry, she proceeded to bring "Ahawa"children to the Land of Israel. In 1935, the first "Ahawa" houses were built in Kiryat Bialik. In time, "Ahawa" was known as one of the most important institutions in the history of the organization "Youth Aliyah", which rescued Jewish children from countries under Nazi rule and resettled them in Israel.

In 1953, Hanni Ullmann specialized in Medical Pedagogy in Switzerland. Between 1956 and 1970 she ran "Ahawa" and established the first Israeli training school for nursery school teachers..

Life's Achievement

Having worked with children for many years, Hanni Ullmann came to realize that educating large groups of children was not suitable for their emotional and physical needs. She believed children needed a warm and supportive environment and with Hanna Kaphan's endowment she established Neve Hanna and fulfilled their mutual vision: Neve Hanna was the first children's home in Israel to bring up children in small family units. The first director of Neve Hanna was Channan Guggenheim, who had worked together with his wife under the guidance of Hanni at "Ahawa". Hanan and Batja Guggenheim ran Neve Hanna until 1980. After their return to Switzerland, they founded Neve Hanna's Swiss Friends Organization.

Until the day she died in September 28, 2002, Hanni was still very much involved in all planning and decision making in Neve Hanna. She was granted the German Excellence Award for her Life's Achievement. Neve Hanna is run to this day in the spirit of her educational and social-pedagogical vision.

Board and Staff

Advisory Board and Management

Neve Hanna Children's House for children and youth is a well known governmental-public institute, headed by a manager, alongside an advising committee, whose role is to advise in topics regarding content, organization and funding. Also, of great importance is the help that the boarding school is getting from friendship circles abroad, with the help of the volunteers.


Neve Hanna Children's Home is a certified public institution run by an executive director and an advisory board that handles methodology, management and funding. Friends of Neve Hanna in Germany, Switzerland and the U.S.A. provide support and send volunteers.

David Weger (Dudu) has been executive director since 1981, introducing new goals and projects as well as a diversity of treatment and therapies. Dudu works hand in hand with his staff.

The Staff

Neve Hanna employs dozens of workers. Staff consists of a psychologist, three social workers and therapists for drama, arts and animal assisted therapy as well as experienced housemothers and youth counselors. Other staff members are in charge of office work, gardening, kitchen work and maintenance, carrying out all daily routine work and helping out on special occasions.


Volunteers are important members of Neve Hanna staff. Seeking to reconcile the German and Israeli nations, Hanni Ullmann admitted German volunteers at "Ahawa". Later on, German volunteers came to Neve Hanna. They work alongside Israeli volunteers and help with every possible type of work. Their work is extremely important and they have become an integral part of Neve Hanna staff.

Daily Routine and Holidays

Daily Routine

Staff members wake children up and have breakfast with them in the family unit. Family unit staff also prepares a light lunch for each child to have at school. Neve Hanna children attend twelve different schools in Kiryat Gat. After school, children have lunch in the family groups together with the house mother and the volunteers. Lunch is the only meal prepared at the central kitchen of Neve Hanna, as opposed to breakfast and dinner prepared in each family unit kitchen.

After lunch, children do their homework with the assistance of staff members and a tutor who comes into the family unit to help with scholastic work. All family units are fully equipped with advanced learning aids. Later in the afternoon children take part in leisure time activities and go to their "meetings", as we call therapy sessions at Neve Hanna. They also play outside in the yard or playground.In the evening hours children return to their family units where they prepare dinner along with the housemother, dine together and discuss daily events. Children take turns in preparing dinner and cleaning up, thus contributing to the group and learning how to be responsible. After dinner children watch TV or play together.

Leisure Time Activities

Despite the great importance of therapeutic and medical treatments, Neve Hanna encourages children to pursue their hobbies: computers, ceramic music, sports, arts or photography. Children are equally encouraged to maintain social relationships with schoolmates who do not live in Neve Hanna. Many Kiryat Gat children visit Neve Hanna's petting zoo and are allowed to use local playgrounds and sports facilities. Neve Hanna children thus get to spend afternoon hours with children who live in the city and many strong friendships are formed. Our children also visit museums and attend theater performances and go on hiking trips.

Weekends and Holidays

Children visit their parents once every two weeks and on holidays, yet children who cannot go home stay with the staff. On Friday nights they attend the prayer performed by a female Rabbi who is also in charge of all religious education. On weekends they play, take trips or go to the pool. Sometimes they take a trip to the North of the country and sleep in Neve Hanna's vacation house in Rosh Pina, bought and donated by a generous donor. During the summer holidays, Neve Hanna's summer camp offers special activities and events around a specific theme.


Jewish holidays are celebrated regularly, introducing Jewish heritage to Neve Hanna children. Activities related to the Jewish holidays enhance the sense of solidarity, cooperation and a sense of creativity, as children stage special performances in the spirit of the holiday.

Daycare Centers

Since the 1990's, Neve Hanna has operated not only the family units but also three daycare units. 7-14 year-old children from low socioeconomic families who have experienced neglect or have been diagnosed as special needs children join the daycare centers. These children often display aggressive behavior, suffer from developmental, scholastic and behavioral problems and have low self esteem. Children on these programs are involved in the remedial teaching program, receive emotional support and take part in all social and leisure activities at Neve Hanna.

Daily Routine

Children arrive after school, have lunch together and do their homework with the assistance of instructors. They then take part in Neve Hanna's leisure time and therapeutic activities. In the evening they have dinner with their daycare groups and go home for the night.

Therapy Program

An individual therapeutic program is suited for each child according to individual emotional and academic needs and personal preferences. It is our goal to promote their scholastic achievements, to let them enjoy leisure time activities and to receive appropriate therapeutic treatments. Children in the daycare centers sleep at home and spend the weekends with their families. Neve Hanna social workers pay home visits regularly. Parental cooperation is critical for the success of this program in order to help children out of the crisis they are in. Regular meetings with parents provide assistance and parents discuss their difficulties in order to change behavioral patterns causing problems in familial functioning. After many years of experience operating the daycare centers it may be said that both children and parents show satisfaction from children's advancement and from the improvement in familial issues.

Petting Zoo

Neve Hanna's petting zoo attracts children as well as adults from the entire area. A variety of animals inhabit it, including hamsters, gerbils, goats, rabbits, mules, snakes, iguanas, turtles, fish, parrots, geese, hens, peacocks, meerkats and many more. For Neve Hanna children this is much more than a place where they can watch, feed and pet the animals. It is the place where they have animal-assisted therapy. During therapy, animal-assisted therapists watch children interact with the animals and interpret their behavioral patterns. Through the interaction between the animal and the child a vast variety of issues is addressed without the need for verbal expression.

Path to Peace

To carry on Hanni Ullmann's vision of mutual understanding between different peoples, Neve Hanna founded in 2004 the "Path to Peace" daycare center for Jewish and Bedouin children, which not only offers educational activities, but also aims to help families in economic, social and emotional distress. This venture, based on cooperation with our Bedouin partners from the city of Rahat, aims first of all to empower children who have to deal with multiple social problems, but also aims to empower socially underprivileged sectors of society, offering equal opportunity to all and promoting international understanding.

Cooperation of the Families

An essential factor in the success of this venture is parents' cooperation. They enroll their children in the daycare program as an active step toward a foreseeable change. They take part in a program designed especially for them, including joint parent-child-activities and future activities for parents only, aiming to bring together Jewish and Bedouin parents.

The Daily Routine

Children on the daycare programs arrive at Neve Hanna after their school day has ended. The Jewish children come from Kiryat Gat, while the Bedouin children come from Rahat. They have lunch together and then start group activity. One hour is devoted to doing homework with the help of counselors. Children then go to individual therapy programs or join leisure time activities and courses. After dinner, children are driven home.


The daycare program offers therapeutic treatment and scholastic assistance to children with behavioral and social problems whose families struggle in addition with a variety of different hardships. The Jewish and Bedouin participants form bonds based on mutual respect, friendship and acknowledgement of the other. It is thus that the two groups are brought closer in the purpose of fighting bias, establishing a liberal worldview based on values of international understanding, tolerance and pluralism among children as well as adults.

Theater Group

In 2006 a mixed theatre groups was established in Neve Hanna, integrating Jewish and Bedouin children. The group showed a play called “A Day in a Life”, written by the Director Anat Ben Arie, according to materials that came from the group’s children. The play describes the everyday life of children and deals with conflicts of Arabs and Jews in Israel through the children’s eyes.

Delegation to Germany

The Theatre group was invited to perform in Israel and abroad. In 2007 it was invited to perform in Germany, and due to the play’s great success, it was additionally invited in May 2010.
During the last trip, in May 2010, the group spent two weeks in Germany, in various cities, among them Hamburg, Munich and Ulm. The play received warm reactions, and most viewers even shed a tear.
The children who participated in the play had an extraordinary experience, which wouldn’t have been available at any other case. The flight was the first flight for all the children, the mutual residence with the Bedouin children and the feeling of success they had let them feel able and self important, and helped them understand that investment does pay off. And most of all, it was a once in a lifetime experience.

In 2011 a new group of children participated in the theater project. They traveled thanks to the support of foundations and our Swiss Friends organization for performances to Switzerland.


The play was performed out of a will to get the Jewish and Bedouin children together by mutual work and an extended residence together.
Also, it was meant to develop the children’s skills in drama and let them feel able, responsible and self confident.
Another goal was to raise consciousness among the viewers in Israel and abroad to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Neve Hanna Graduates

Any Children’s House in the world faces the question, what shall become of the teenagers after they shall leave the institute as young adults, since most of them are yet to acquire a profession they can work at. In Israel we have an additional thing to deal with – the young adults must serve in the IDF.
Sometimes, the teenagers have no relationship with their parents, their families or acquaintances, or the relationship is quite loose. In some cases, there is no “parent’s house” in the physical sense of the word. The children lived their finest years in Neve Hanna, which became their home, and the people they trust are found here. Therefore, leaving the Children’s House as a step towards an independent life is accompanied by great fears which are not such a simple problem for our protégés, especially in relation to their service in the army.

A Warm House

In Neve Hanna we help the young ones to overcome their problematic past, yet we also give the young ones values and social awareness for their future. When they grow up and join the army, they are expected to realize what they learned and in addition to participate in additional educational programs and maybe even to learn a profession in the IDF. It happens that the young adults experience failure in the army, since they lack support.
In 2000, Neve Hanna established a home, designated for the young adults that left the Children’s House upon their enrollment to the army at 18. This house is at their disposal and it is unique in Israel. It was established to be a base and support for the young adults who finished their studies in Neve Hanna, yet are not yet capable to deal alone with the requirements of the army and the world outside.

Accompanying towards independence

In a rented house, at Arugut settlement nearby, live a couple – two social workers – whose role is to take care of the soldiers who grew up in Neve Hanna. The soldiers serve at various places, therefore some return home every night and some only arrive at weekends. They do get practical support, yet the run the household independently. The idea is to march them into independence, yet with assistance and gradually.
One of the soldier girls said recently, “It is the first time in my life that I feel and know what I want. I look forward and know that many roads are opened for me. For the first time in my life, I feel hope”.

Funds for Youth

Teenagers who begin professional training usually need some financial support from their families that Neve Hanna teenagers can often not obtain. Some of our youth have been blessed with special talents they cannot pursue for lack of financial resources.

On the occasion of Hanni Ullmann's 90th birthday, Neve Hanna Friends established a small fund to support professional training for Neve Hanna graduates.

There are many success stories at Neve Hanna and Baruch's story is one of them: It was very obvious that Baruch was a gifted painter. With the support of Neve Hanna and its Friends organizations he pursued his talent and later on, Baruch paid his own tuition but could not afford studies in the U.S.A. where he aspired to learn. Neve Hanna staff told one of the philanthropists about him and she paid his tuition. Baruch graduated from one of the most prestigious arts academies in the States and signed a contract with a big company, where he produced his first animated film. He still lives in the U.S. but has not forgotten Neve Hanna and is active in Neve Hanna Friends U.S.A. and even established his own foundation in order to help children in need.



official site

Hanni Ullmann and David Weger, Neve Hanna Director, once visited a chocolate factory in the U.S.A. An orphanage director who wanted to give the orphans a workplace while preparing them for independent life established the factory. The local chocolate factory became one of the biggest chocolate factories in the world.

Following the visit, Hanni and David decided to establish a factory for Neve Hanna children as well. They looked for a product that would suit the needs of Neve Hanna and epitomize the bond to the Israeli people. They chose bread, symbolizing the biblical bread that dropped out of the sky in the desert. Equally important, bread plays a prominent role in Christianity and in Islam – the two monotheistic world religions represented at Neve Hanna. Donations, inventiveness and a chef baker from Switzerland all led to the establishment of the small and special bakery in 2001.

Along the years, the bakery has answered and won many tenders, among others to supply pastries for the business class of "El Al", Israel's national airlines.

American Friends

The American Friends of Neve Hanna was founded over 30 years ago by Rabbi Benjamin Z. Kreitman z"l and Sylvia Lubliner.

Members of the Advising Committee:

Janet and Irwin Tobin, Co-Presidents
Rabbi Barry Dov Katz, Vice President
Sylvia Lubliner, Vice President
Jack Topal, Treasurer

Local Branches:

Phyllis and Herb Brody, Chestnut Hill, Ma.
Audrey and Burt Citak, NYC, N.Y.
Sandra and Lawrence Cohn, Boulder, Co.
Baruch Inbar, Pasadina,Calif.
Deborah Lust Zaluda, Highland Park, Illinois

American Friends of Neve Hanna has a Board of Directors from all over the U.S.A. Newsletters are sent regularly to inform them of what is happening at Neve Hanna. We support the various social, psychological, and religious aspects that have to do with the education and everyday life of the children at Neve Hanna. We have 4 campaigns a year in which funds are raised to support a traditional Jewish education associated with Masorti Judaism, holiday and Shabbat celebrations and Bar/Bat Mitzvah training and simcha. American Friends also supports a number of programs including a remedial reading program, animal therapy, individual psychological help, scholarships for post IDF students and R&R for those in the IDF. American Friends of Neve Hanna funds also go for renovations to our facility in Rosh Pina, our foster family units, and for building the new social hall at Kiryat Gat. Our goal is to help our children at Neve Hanna lead happy lives and become productive citizens of Israel.

For Information please contact
American Friends of Neve Hanna

Janet & Irwin Tobin, Co-Presidents

Rabbi Benjamin Z. Kreitman, ז"ל, Founding President
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 820, New York, NY 10115 USA
phone 212-533-2061
fax 212-879-3897

Swiss Friends

The circle of friends of Neve Hanna in Switzerland has a long history and started with close friendships of Hanni Ullmann. In 1953, Hanni attended the pedagogical seminar in Zurich and at the same time made a lot of friends in Switzerland. New and old friendships in Switzerland supported her in establishing Neve Hanna and thereafter were looking after the well-being of the home.

Eventually, a charitable organization was constituted. The first president of the "Verein Neve Hanna Schweiz" was the Swiss social worker Hanan Guggenheim, who also was the first director of the children's home Neve Hanna from 1974 to 1981.

The Swiss circle of friends also supported the bakery project of Neve Hanna. The members of the circle searched eagerly for skilled bakers who run the bakery. Furthermore, many volunteers out of Switzerland spent valuable months in Neve Hanna.

The president of "Verein Neve Hanna Schweiz" is Evelyne Kühni in Schwendibach. Please do not hesitate to contact her by e-mail ( or by phone (+41 33 442 17 69).

Members to the association or donations are welcome. The Sympathizers get information about Neve Hanna on a regular basis.

Please donate at: Verein Neve Hanna Schweiz, IBAN CH 47 0856 5559 9135 5590 1 at the Bank Dreyfus Sons & Co. Ltd., Banquiers, Basel – Switzerland.

Donations are tax deductible in almost all cantons of Switzerland.
German Friends

Neve Hanna Kinderhilfe e.V. – German Friends Organization

The German Friends Organization of Neve Hanna Children’s home is a non-profit association registered with the German authorities. Our Friends in German focus on the following fields of activities:

  • They support the different therapies Neve Hanna offers its children and teenagers as well as special projects not funded by the Israeli social authorities.

  • The German Friends intensively supported the foundation of the "Path to Peace" daycare center for Jewish and Muslim-Bedouin children. The German Friends raise funds for this project and support it on a monthly basis ever since its inauguration.

  • The Joint Jewish-Bedouin theater project of Neve Hanna received the support of the German Friends, who organized two trips of the theater group to Germany, including the organization of performances as well as a special leisure program.

  • For decades, the German Friends organization has played a vital role in sending each year six to eight young German men and women for a year of volunteering at Neve Hanna in Israel. The German Friends handle the applications and hold an introduction seminar for the new volunteers on subjects such as life in Israel, cultural differences, Judaism and Islam and the Middel Eastern Conflict as well as German-Jewish history and the Holocaust. The seminar prepares the volunteers for the stay in Israel. During the volunteer period in Israel, Neve Hanna friends keep in touch with the volunteers and assist them with any problem.

  • Neve Hanna Friends in Germany keep in touch with Neve Hanna friends and donors on a regular basis. They also recruit new members and donors and organize a variety of events in Germany in order to raise awareness to the work and aims of Neve Hanna.

For further information see:


Neve Hanna is a nonprofit institution recognized by the State of Israel (Amuta) and operated by a board of directors officially instituted in 1982.

Currently, Rachel (Rali) Loewenthal is the chairwoman of the board.

Board members: 

  • Miri Perez
  • Edna Ehrlich
  • Edna Klagsbrunn
  • Moshe Ehrlich
  • Zvi Klagsbrun
  • Annette Shimoni
  • Rabbi Yoav Ende

All board members have been closely related to Neve Hanna for many years, identify with its aims, and most of all care for the children. Some of them worked in Neve Hanna in the past, and now that they are retired, they contribute the best of their time and effort. They all possess important professional skills which are relevant to our work, as among them there are a clinical psychologist, a former House Mother, a nurse, an expert on matters of religion and society, as well as businessmen.

Additionally, Chaim Appel works voluntarily in collaboration with the director Dudu Weger and functions as a general advisor in all daily matters.