For the past five years, the Dolev Dormitory has offered a special program of meetings with parents. Once a month the administrative staff and the parents meet at a ‘Café Café’ restaurant in Jerusalem to hold discussions, engage in a workshop and have an evening meal together. These meetings are attended by the staff of the Ulpana as well as the dormitory managers, Tamir Shor and Ram Paz; the head of the Treatment Staff, Toby Karaii; and Principal of the high school and workshop leader, Chana Balul. During the year, ten such meetings take place. During these meetings we combine various lecturers in the field of education, and workshops from the staff who work closely with projects. The purpose of the meetings is to open a common dialogue on the subject of parent/children relationships, building a meaningful adult parental image, a desire to plant parental confidence, and coping with conflicts related to the age of adolescence. There is a desire to build, together with the parents, a common path which will help the parent and their daughter to create a shared dialogue and trust.
The meetings take place in a Café Café restaurant in Jerusalem. The location was specifically chosen as we feel very comfortable in this setting. Our hosts accept us openly, and the atmosphere is both intimate and warm, conducive for parents to open their hearts, and to take an active part in the program.
About 35 couples attend these meetings. Each meeting centers on one defined subject, which is agreed upon ahead of time. All the topics deal with the position of the parent as the responsible adult, who has the full privilege, and the ability to delineate the path for his daughter. We empower the parents with the feeling of being a significant factor in the lives of their daughter, and in their ability to influence and guide, together with giving the tools for self-introspection and dialogue.
Towards the vacation time, we conduct broad talks on the subject of parental coping, the risks of vacation time, the anxieties regarding the lack of boundaries and the absence of frameworks. How to accept the daughter in a manner which allows for closeness, happiness as she returns to the home setting, how to place firm and clear boundaries on the daughter from a place of true concern for one’s daughter.
Some of the meetings take place in the Ulpana in order to create a connection between the girls, the parents, and with the intermediaries of the surrounding staff. (Educational and treatment staff). The girls are aware of these meetings and feel pride and satisfaction that their parents wish to be part of their world, that they have the intention to be proactive, to contribute and improve, and conveying the message that they are all partners on this road together.
These meetings warm the heart, and the atmosphere is one of partners on the journey. In the center is the young girl – the student – and the desire to encourage her, hand in hand, to treasure her accomplishments, and to arrive together to reach new goals and materialize dreams.
These meetings have opened up an opportunity to the parents. They share their difficulties, their thoughts and feelings in a group of peers. They can speak openly among those who are not critical, but rather who are listening, who understand and who can guide them. The parents as well as the staff, leave these meetings in high spirits and with a sense of satisfaction in the program. We feel we have one more way to tread, but we are walking this path together. With the help of G-d, we hope to be successful always.
Of course, in the times of Covid-19, these meetings still successfully take place, but via Zoom.