From Susan’s House to Yours
By Romi Sussman
I’m always looking for interesting and meaningful places to go in Israel, either with my kids or with family when they visit. I’ve known about Susan’s House for years, but I hadn’t found the time to visit until now. Before Amichai’s bar mitzvah, with a few family members in town, we finally made our way there. And what an experience we had!
As our guide explained, Susan’s House was started in 2002 in memory of a young woman who dreamed about helping kids through art. It is a warm environment for at-risk teenagers where they are taught to create beautiful glass works, ceramics and jewelry. With this process, they learn self-worth and life skills that they need to find their own place in society. Susan’s House works with about 30 kids at a time between the ages of 15 and 18, offering them hope for the future and a way to develop self esteem and self worth.
After hearing about Susan’s House, we then toured the beautiful new facility, watching the kids in action and seeing what they make and how they make it. The guide had mentioned that the tours actually serve many purposes.
While we are supporting Susan’s House by being there, we are also helping the kids to feel good about themselves. Our guide encouraged us to engage with the kids, asking them how long they’ve worked at Susan’s House, what they like doing best and more. She said that the staff notices, after a group comes through, that it actually offers encouragement to the kids and makes them feel special.
When we finished touring the facility, we went back to their conference room where an art project was waiting for us. We painted glass trays, having a great time using our creativity (and perhaps painting our faces in the process).
At the end, they have a showroom where we browsed and bought a number of beautiful items for ourselves and others. This included a very special necklace that I bought and then wore to the bar mitzvah.
It was an incredibly meaningful and fun way to spend the morning and I highly recommend it to both those who live in Israel and those who are visiting from elsewhere!
Romi Sussman heads the content writing department for a technology and digital consulting company. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she made Aliyah from Potomac, MD and is raising six boys in the hills of Gush Etzion. She frequently blogs about life in Israel and her experiences over the last decade.