Each OTZMA participant has the option to receive an “adoptive Israeli family.” The goal is to provide participants with a warm and caring “home away from home” and also help participants to break more social and cultural barriers as they get are intimately exposed to yet another aspect of Israeli life. Adoptive families are young and mostly urban families who have similar interests or hobbies to the participants we will match them up with. This experience is an extremely positive one and it contributes to our goal in bridging the gap between Israel and the Diaspora. Some families are familiar with OTZMA and like to be involved every year, others are new to the program and will be excited for you to fill them in on all of your exciting adventures and experiences.
Receiving and adoptive family is a rewarding aspect of the OTZMA program and often results in a long-term relationship even after the program ends. We have many past participants who come back to Israel to visit their “family” on this side of the world.
Please note: Many OTZMA participants have family and friends currently residing in Israel with whom they opt to spend their free time. If you choose to be adopted it is important that you consider with or not you will be available to commit free time to them in addition to your pre-existing friends and family. The adoptive families are required to make a serious commitment to OTZMA participants and thus we expect that the participants will do likewise. If you have family or friends in Israel that you will spend most of your free time with and would prefer them to another family please opt to do so.
Describing their experiences...
What Jenn Carmen of OTZMA XXII says about her adoptive family…
“I've been "adopted" by a kibbutz family. The husband and wife are Evan (South African) and Martine (English) and they have twin 2 year olds Yonatan and Suzanna, and a very lovable golden retriever named Shrek. They're a very sweet family who's only house rule is that adoptees (a lot of families have more than one volunteer/adopted lone soldiers) 'don't wait for an invitation to come over'. If I'm hungry or want to watch a movie or whatever, I should just come over."
What families say about their “adopted” OTZMA participant…
“Jevon was like an older brother to our children. Even though he has family in Israel we meet up about twice per week and he joins us on family vacations. We speak to his parents on skype and when his brother comes to visit in Israel he will be coming to meet us. We would love for Jevon to stay with us permanently and will be sad when he leaves. We look forward to adopting more participants in the future.” --The Kotzer Family (Adam and Lisa) from Rosh HaAyin on their OTZMA participant Jevon Tabar
“It was a pleasure for us to help participants volunteering in the Netivot, it is the least that we could do. Grace is like a daughter to us and we are in contact with her all the time inviting her over for dinner and checking up on her to make sure that everything is going well. It’s a shame she is in Netivot for just three months because we truly love her.” -- The Ben-Naim Family (Collette and Yakov) Netivot on their OTZMA participant Grace Goodblatt
“David is a great guy and we really enjoy being with him, we are happy that it is mutual and that he enjoys being with us. He is always invited to come over for Friday evening meals (Shabbat) to sit and talk and update us. Our house is always open to him and he warms our hearts when he arrives for a visit.” -- The Barmucha Family (David and Liz) from Kiryat Gat on their OTZMA participant David Korenthal