Friday, September 17, 2010

With Days Like This...

Michal Korach

The holiday season, with the family gatherings and meals it occasions, not infrequently intensifies feelings of loneliness and depression, stress and anger. ERAN Emotional Crisis Hotline was created to offer support to anyone experiencing such feelings of distress. ERAN operates a phone hotline (which can be reached from any phone with the universal number 1201) and an internet live emergency help center, both anonymous and strictly confidential. ERAN was first set up in 1971 by Maria-Berta Zasleni in memory of her late husband, the psychiatrist, Arie Zasleni. The first center was situated in Mrs. Zasleni’s home. By 1983, four more centers had been established in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheva and Netanya, which were operated by the cities municipalities. In 1983 the independent emotional first aid centers united to form a national organization.

At present, ERAN operates in ten locations throughout Israel: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheva, Netanya, Kfar Saba, Carmiel, Hadera, Rishon Lezion and Nazareth. ERAN’s 24-hour hotline is the organization’s primary service. The hotline operates in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and Russian, and is available to any individual seeking emotional first aid, coming from any background. There are two additional, specialized centers, one for soldiers and another for the elderly. The hotlines are operated by volunteers who come from diverse professional backgrounds and who undergo extensive, professional training before taking on their posts in the call center.

ERAN received 135,000 calls in 2009 – 58% of them from women. A break down of the calls reveals that the leading motivations for calling the center were: loneliness (24%), mental illness (19%), relationship difficulties (9%), interpersonal difficulties (7%), parent-child relationship difficulties (6%) and depression (6%).
Among the soldiers who called the center, the leading causes for calling the hotline were sexual identity issues (12%), trauma or anxiety (7%), sexual problems (6%) and sexual assault (4%). Among the population of elderly callers, the leading causes for calling were loneliness (52%) and interpersonal relationship problems (12%). In the Arab sector, the leading issues were relationship difficulties (51%) and loneliness (42%).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Youth Movements

Dr. Maya Choshen

"If there are still places where collective goals are still emphasized rather than only egotistic-individualism, then those are among our youth movements” (Aharon Yadlin, 1993). Tirza Goldstein in her 2007 research into the leisure-time activities of young adults in Jerusalem has pointed to a clear link between being a member of a youth movement and active and participatory citizenship and volunteering. In 2010, there were eleven Jewish youth movements operating in Jerusalem – 4 secular movements (Hamachanot Ha'olim, Hashomer Hatzair, Hano'ar Ha'oved Vehalomed, the Scouts), 1 conservative youth movement (Noam), 2 3 National-Religious movements (Bnei Akiva, Ezra and Ariel) and 4 3 Ultra-Orthodox movements (Bnot Batya, Degel Yerushalayim, and Heichalei Oneg and Ezra). After a short dip in the number of active members experienced between 2007 and 2008, the number of youth movement members steadily grew from 32,400 in 2008, to 34,300 in 2009, to its current peak at 37,200 in 2010. Overall, between the years 2008 and 2010, the number of members in Jerusalem’s youth movements saw a 15% increase: the secular youth movements saw the largest increase (20%), and they were closely followed by the Ultra-Orthodox movements (a 1917% increase) and the conservative movement, Noam (a 13% increase). The National-Religious movements, which experienced a 2.53% decrease in membership rates between the years 2008 and 2009 followed by a 4% increase between the years 2009 and 2010, maintained their size overall between the years 2008 and 2010. The National-Religious youth movements were the last to recover from their drop in membership rates.

All of the data brought in this column is taken from data compiled by the Department of Community Services in the Jerusalem Municipality. The Jerusalem Municipality uses the data on the number of members in each youth movement to allocate funds proportionally among the different youth movements. In the early 2000’s, the Jerusalem Municipality developed a system for distributing funds on the basis of detailed reports submitted directly by the youth movements and subject to auditing by the Department of Community Services.