Some of my first memories take place in the House of Grace. I was born and raised within the house. I played and grew with the many individuals that would pass through the house. All the individuals that took part in our organization became more than just people they became a part of the family. I never thought anything was strange or odd about living here until I was 12 years old. When I was 12 I was playing with some kids from school. I asked any of my classmates if they wanted to come over and hang out one day after school. They began acting strange and avoided the question. One of my friends confronted me the next day and said that his parents would not allow him over to my house since I lived with prisoners. This was shocking to me, I had no idea people felt scared of individuals I call my family. My classmate’s parents only had preconceived notions based on stereotypes that I lived with murderers and thieves.
However, I knew the real story. After a while as I shared what we did and how we help individuals that have fallen victim to difficult circumstances and told them stories of my friends in the house my friends began to see the real story too. They would tell their parents stories and spread the word of what the house of grace is really doing. They would tell them that we were the first halfway house in Israel and that we would help newly released prisoners readjust into a constantly changing society. Their parents eventually came around to the idea and they began to come and see for themselves. One afternoon I and my friends were going to meet at the house and ride bikes afterward. However, when I came home after school, I found my friend’s bikes propped up by the gate in front of the house. I then went upstairs to find them in the kitchen with many of the prisoners who lived here at the time. They were all laughing and cooking. At this moment I saw that their previous ideas and misconceptions vanished as they shared laughs and cooked with the prisoners.
They began to feel that this was their home as well and this was the moment I realized the power of the house of grace. As I grew older always kept this memory close to my heart and I realized that this doesn’t just work, it is my mission. I know people struggling often come here because of that very family environment. It is what makes our organization unique it is why everyone not just prisoners and families in need but the greater community is drawn to us. I now do everything I can to preserve this environment and embrace all who come to visit.