This article first appeared in a special supplement in Haaretz on the occasion of the Haruv Institute’s 10th anniversary. Haruv is Israel's leading training and research center and one of the preeminent institutions worldwide in the field of child abuse and neglect. The Institute was established in 2007 to train professionals, paraprofessionals, researchers, parents and children on the prevention, identification, treatment and rehabilitation of abused and neglected children, and to develop and disseminate advanced professional knowledge in Israel and throughout the world.
I first became aware of the epidemic of child abuse more than five decades ago when I volunteered at a police shelter for abused children in my hometown of Tulsa, OK. It opened my eyes to the horrors of what far too many children and families face.
I vowed then to do all I could to protect those children. When we established our Foundation, my beloved husband, Charlie (z”l), and I began supporting organizations in Tulsa that were working to treat and prevent child abuse. As we grew our philanthropy in Israel, we realized that child abuse existed here, too. We decided that addressing child maltreatment would become a cornerstone of our work in Tulsa and in Israel.
In 1996, we partnered with the JDC to establish a permanent home for Succat Shalom—Israel’s first emergency shelter for children and families at risk for abuse—and help it develop into a center of excellence. Later, we helped to create a network of eight child protection centers, called Beit Lynn. And in 2007, the Haruv Institute was born.
From the start, I wanted Haruv to serve as “a light unto the nations” in the field of child abuse and neglect. I wanted Haruv to develop new knowledge and methodologies for professionals working with young victims. I wanted Haruv to help prevent further trauma and protect future victims.
It is remarkable to see how far Haruv has come in 10 years and the vital role it is playing here in Israel and around the world. Haruv combines two of Israel’s greatest assets—creativity and innovation—to advocate for those least able to defend themselves.
Now, with the Children’s Campus at Hebrew University, Haruv is also a home for ideas, for innovation, for research and for action that will serve children and families in need for generations to come. The campus is a model of what is possible when the best and brightest come together to form a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
I am so proud that we are realizing our vision of Haruv, and of Israel, as an international center of excellence in the field of child maltreatment. Beyond the Children’s Campus, Haruv is training professionals as far away as China and Madagascar and has extended its work through the programs at Haruv USA in Oklahoma.
I am grateful for the leadership and partnership of the many people and organizations who have made Haruv’s growth possible—in particular, Professor Asher Ben-Arieh for his vision, dedication and hard work.
I am also so grateful for the incredible professionals who have devoted their lives to this sacred work of protecting our most precious resource: our children.
As Charlie once said: “The rising tide of child abuse and neglect in our community will not be resolved until each one of us recognizes our own responsibility to protect the right of every child to a safe and secure upbringing.”
We have made remarkable progress over the past 10 years. But we still have a long way to go. Far too many children and families are still suffering. We cannot rest until all children, in Israel and around the world, live free from abuse and neglect, able to pursue their dreams as active, healthy members of society.