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Because Of You, 22 Israeli Children & Their Families Found Refuge at The Epstein School

“We’ve never done this before, but that’s what you do as a Jewish organization. You jump in and help.”

After October 7th, dozens of Israeli families fled to Atlanta, some of whom had connections here and some who didn’t know a soul.

Many were able to come thanks to a local Chabad initiative that funded flights and arranged homestays for these families. But when it came to providing a safe and welcoming Jewish educational environment, it was Federation that stepped up to supplement the tuition and security so that 22 Israeli children could attend Epstein for the entirety of their stay.

Because of this, Epstein is one of the top schools in the country to absorb such a large number of Israeli kids in this short period.

From Pre-K to 8th grade, Epstein welcomed these children and their families with open arms, ensuring that they had what they needed to feel at home. One of the many things they did was bring in extra Hebrew-speaking teachers and support staff to help with translating, which was especially important for the younger children.

They also rallied their parent community to ensure that these Israeli families always had an invitation to Shabbat dinner, a holiday gathering, or a birthday party, and that children could participate in extracurricular activities like basketball. In every way, these families became a part of the Epstein ecosystem and developed relationships that will carry them forward for years to come.

“We got just as much out of this experience as the Israelis did,” said Dr. David Abusch-Magder, Head of School at the Epstein School.

Dr. D explained that, for some Epstein students and their parents, this was their first time connecting with native Israelis who were affected by the events of October 7th and the war that has followed. Epstein became a space for understanding, compassion, and friendship that would have never blossomed otherwise. While the circumstances are very unfortunate, many Epstein families now have a very personal connection to Israel that they did not have prior to October 7th.

“Epstein and Federation were able to do this together,” said Dr. D. “As Jews, we take care of one another.”

From the Epstein community and all of us at Federation: Thank you.

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