Q: Why Immigrants?
The challenges following a tragedy are especially difficult for immigrants. The lack of a natural support system of family and life-long friends, limited or no financial safety nets, and a sense of uprootedness and isolation all exacerbate their already dire circumstances.
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 emergency and trauma intake departments, social workers, absorption and welfare authorities, the IDF, schools and others who actively refer 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 without charge. We provide immigrants in crises with emergency services, material goods, and/or financial assistance – according to their individual needs.
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 respond to needs directly and quickly. Acute 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 longer term as well, when necessary.
Q: Who else benefits from Selah assistance?
In addition to helping crisis-stricken immigrants and their families, Selah also provides professional assistance to social workers and caregivers in related fields. Additionally, Selah 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 culture-specific trauma experience and actively refer a growing number of cases to us. Selah is also regularly invited to advise a number of agencies on issues concerning immigrant needs. In some cases, the outcome is yielding practical and far-reaching changes in policy.
Q: Does Selah’s reach extend beyond the boundaries of Israel?
Owing to the global rise in terrorism, Selah is 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 in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania in 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 Israel Trauma Coalition. We also ran a summer program here in Israel for some of the child survivors. Another example was after the earthquake in Haiti, when we sent a team of trauma experts to help with the situation on the ground.
Q: Are there other agencies solely dedicated to helping immigrants in crisis?
Selah is the only countrywide, comprehensive network of sustained assistance available to immigrants in Israel from all countries of origin. Our practical and emotional support outreach is unique; we attend to needs in the immigrants’ native language and with a deep understanding of – and sensitivity to – their specific cultural norms. Our aid is also unique in that we remain with immigrants from the onset of crisis and throughout the healing process as needed.