Nirim B'Harim נירים בהרים

Nirim B’Harim (an associated project of NIRIM*) is an extreme therapeutic farm for the most serious cases of profound personal crisis not successfully addressed in any conventional programming. Participants, young men and women, are often referred by the courts in cases where the court finds mitigating circumstances as the last alternative to long periods of incarceration. This is a cutting edge  specialized wilderness/survival therapy program, situated in the Golan for the 12-20 most severe cases of is a program about saving lives.  .  

This program represents the essence of the concept of תקנת שבים Takanat Shavim within Mishpat Ivri, Jewish Jurisprudence…the real meaning of Tikkun, as opposed to sugary concepts of Tikkun on the one hand and harsh concepts of mandatory incarceration that are prevalent throughout most of the western world today. 

Wilderness therapy is a key rehabilitative component and pivotal to its success. The youth live in and trek through nature and acquire survival skills which serve as an intensive therapeutic medium that strengthens self-confidence, leadership abilities and a sense of self-empowerment. It is located in a secluded area in the Golan Heights at the junction of the borders of Syria, Jordan and Israel (an ISIS forward observation base destroyed by the IIF is clearly visible to the naked eye and a mere 2 km. away).

It is designed for a maximum of five young men, and three to four young women at a time and defines individual attention with a rigid and demanding routine and tough structure, but at the same time is warm and embracing. Seclusion and detachment, individual attention and emotional support provide participants with the peace of mind they need.

Hananya Zilcha, 34, the farm manager and a former elite combat officer, has made it his life mission to build and develop this agricultural-therapeutic farm. The teenagers who participate in this intensive program are bound to be returned to institutions/prisons or simply returned to their destructive criminal environment should this unique form of positive intervention fail to provide the intensive and individual care they require.

The program is named after naval commando Nir Krichman,ז"ל, naval commando, killed in action in 2002 near Shechem, and the connection to the Naval Commandos remains strong to this day (the unit has adopted the program and many naval commandos volunteer to mentor).

While serving “only’ 12-15 youth a year this unique life, saving program is one of the best investments one could make. Bottom line: these young men, and women can turn out on the parade grounds of the IDF in crisp uniforms on the day they receive their unit berets or Gd forbid they can anguish behind bars, and return to a life of crime and drugs.

Working the Land, Equine Therapy

A program of equine therapy has been created using horses donated by Israeli farmers and a Paddock donated by the Rosen Family of NY. The therapy is essentially based on a building a relationship between the participants and the horse combining work-related physical activity and riding. Referencing the youths as trainers provides a sense of security and competence challenging improvement of their mental and social skills by learning how to ride a horse and to form a working relationship with it.

Together with difficult agricultural work, milking, chicken farming and connection to nature and the tranquility it provides, the treatment's process is special and uniqely effective.

We seek now to raise $50,000. to provide winter facilities for the herds of goats and a new winterized chicken coop that are part of the farming project of the program. Milk and eggs are marketing to local dairies and stores on the Golan and certainly help in deraying the daily costs of this unique, life saving program.  

Residential Complex

Since its establishment at 2012, the youth, staff and volunteers at the farm were sleeping in tents. The Israel Independence Fund has provided two small dormitories, in memory of two members of our Board of Directors, Stanley Rosenberg and Helen Freedman ז"ל. 

 * Established in 2003, Nirim provides youth at extreme-risk with an opportunity, in many cases their last, to overcome their harsh life circumstances, discover their strengths, and become self-confident, successful, fulfilled and contributing members of society. Nirim nurtures, empowers, educates and literally changes the lives of 500 youth every year. Setting normative targets as attainable achievements; 12 years’ formal education, full matriculation diploma, meaningful IDF service, social engagement and personal growth. Based in a youth village near Acco with subsidiary programs throughout the country it has gained support from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Defense. That support however covers the basic requirements.  


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