Shanti House Mitzvah Project and Rosh Hashanah Thanks

Shanti House’s doors are open to emotionally injured, abandoned youth, who have often also been physically, sexually and emotionally abused. Shanti House believes that a loving home with people who care can change a person’s life. Therefore, home is the center of their care-giving model, with a compassionate family atmosphere.

Mariuma, founder of Shanti House, her husband Michel, and two former Shanti House “kids” came to our September Jewish Women’s Network Coffee Hour at the Santa Barbara Club to talk about the incredible impact this special organization is having on the lives of at-risk youth in Israel every day. The talk ended with Dekel, a handsome young man who spent many years in Shanti House after being kicked out of his home, beautifully playing guitar and singing “Hallelujah." He shared that he learned his musical skills while residing at Shanti House. Mariuma gave a Rosh HaShanah gift to everyone in the room: a cookbook from Shanti House filled with recipes and stories to fill the stomach and soul.

During the Women’s Heart to Heart Mission to Israel in February 2016, the Santa Barbara delegation visited Shanti House and was deeply touched by its commitment to helping and serving those who are so often forgotten. A few months later, Mariuma’s daughter Shanti came to speak at a JWN Coffee Hour. The women were so touched by her story that it was clear Shanti House should become this year’s Mitzvah Project for the Women’s Division.

A goal was set to raise $3,600 for Shanti House. With a generous matching gift, we were able to more than double our goal totaling $7,356.00! This large gift will certainly help make the Rosh HaShanah holiday better for all Shanti kids.

On behalf of the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, a huge THANK YOU is extended to all of those who participated in this special Mitzvah project. Shanti House thanks you, and forwarded this note:

Rosh HaShanah is approaching, and I would like to turn to all our supporters and express my esteem and admiration. Thanks to your contribution, I know that I will be able to begin my independent life, out of the Shanti House. Rosh HaShanah is a holiday of beginnings and innovations. For me this is the most important holiday, because this year I am leaving and heading out on a path full of hopes and achievements. I am so excited at the mere possibility of it. When I arrived at Shanti House, I was so small and hopeless, and in four years, I became that person I have dreamed of becoming. If Rosh HaShanah is about beginnings, then this is my beginning.

I want to thank you all for your help, for giving children like me a hug, for saving them and offering them a better life. I wish you will continue supporting and giving. It is never taken for granted. You deserve all the best in the world, and all the gratitude in the world. Because you are special people, able to love without boundaries. You set an example for every man and woman to follow. You are our heroes.

With all my love,

Christina Winokor, graduate of the Shanti House

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