Q: What does the word SELAH mean?

In Hebrew, SELAH means “rock”. It is an acronym for aid to immigrants in crisis - סלע - סיוע לעולה במשבר (Siyua le’Oleh be’Mashber). Over time, immigrants come to know us as a rock-solid address for support.

Q: How do people in need hear about SELAH?

SELAH is known to the police, hospital trauma centers, social workers, absorption and welfare authorities, and others who actively refer a growing number of cases to us for assistance. The referrals are 24 hours a day through our emergency hotline, email and fax.

Q: Do people have to pay for SELAH services?

SELAH’s services are offered without charge. Immigrants in crisis situations receive emergency services, material goods, and/or financial assistance - according to criteria.

Q: Do people apply for SELAH funding and services?

We reach out as soon as we learn of someone in need. We do our best to determine and respond to needs directly and quickly. Emergency cases are addressed immediately. Other needs are considered by our Steering Committee, which meets at least once a week. Understanding that needs develop over time, SELAH also helps in the long term as well.

Q: Who else benefits from SELAH assistance?

In addition to helping crisis-stricken immigrants and their families lobby for their individual rights, SELAH also provides professional assistance to government social workers and other caregivers. SELAH also works to raise public awareness of issues affecting new immigrants hit by tragedy and to encourage their integration into the larger Israeli society.

Q: Does SELAH cooperate with other organizations?

SELAH is a key resource for others who have come to rely on our expertise. For example, various ministries, welfare authorities, the police and other public and private organizations draw from our solid know-how and actively refer a growing number of cases for our assistance. SELAH is also regularly invited to consult with and advise a number of government agencies on issues concerning immigrant needs. In some cases the outcome is yielding practical and far-reaching changes in policy.

Q: Is SELAH involved in bi-national cooperation?

Owing to the global rise in terrorism, SELAH is frequently sought out by trauma workers and first responders from other countries interested in learning from our own fieldwork. For example, in the aftermath of the September 2004 school siege in the town of Beslan, Russia, which left nearly 350 killed and hundreds more injured, SELAH psychologists, psychiatrists and volunteers provided critical training to the local caregivers in the FSU, through the of the Israel Trauma Coalition. We also ran a summer program here in Israel for some of the survivors.

Q: Do other agencies provide similar services?

There are other non-profit organizations offering assistance to some of the populations SELAH deals with, but there is no other countrywide volunteer network of sustained assistance available to immigrants from all countries of origin. Both our practical and emotional support are marks of our unique outreach, as is the fact that we remain with immigrants throughout a crisis from the first stages through the healing process.