Elazraki – what’s that?
History has it that…
It all started in 1958 when Alfonso & Gladis Sabbah made Aliyah to Israel from Tangier, Morocco. They settled in the Pardes Ha-Gdud neighborhood in Netanya. This is where they first met the abandoned children who lived at the religious institution "Sinai" which was very close by. The term "Children at Risk" did not exist in those days. The children, who lived in three houses, were referred to as "abandoned & neglected children". The institution was directed by an old man named… Sinai, of course. Alfonso & Gladis Sabbah "observed & were hurt". Shortly after they grew attached to the children and opened their own home to them.
During those years two very special people became involved; a beloved unique individual named Eliezer Kugler and his wife Rachel. Mr. Kugler assisted Sinai in managing the institution, until Sinai passed away. In those 3 houses in Pardes Ha-Gdud remained 30 children…this was their only home, and the Kuglers soon became their loving parents.
The Sabbah family took upon themselves the responsibility of raising & nurturing the children. Their main concern was that the children would remain without a roof over their heads, as the houses they lived in belonged to Jews who lived at Belgium, who could demand them back any time. Alfonso Sabbah founded a special trust for the benefit of the children, its purpose – to purchase the houses they lived in, or build new ones instead. The Sabbah family also built a local synagogue near by and received a special Rabbinical Permit, allowing the children to partake in musical & educational activities. The bond between the Sabbah family and the children deepened. They looked after their wellbeing & happiness every day, and even celebrated their birthdays and gave them gifts. Every day the children could be seen entering the Sabbah house freely & happily.
After the attempt to purchase the houses was unsuccessful, the Netanya Municipality acted towards the Sabbah family and "its children", and allocated land for them, for the purpose of building a home for the children. The Home was built in the mid 60's, and many members of the extended Sabbah family and their friends took part in the building process. Plenty of thought & resources were put into its planning. In the new building, an apartment was built for the Director and his wife. As building was complete and the Home began functioning, Sinai's children were taken in, as well as new children. The Home was originally designed to accommodate 50 children, though with the help of donations it was expanded in all aspects – the number of children, the staff, equipping and additional services. At the same time, the Sabbah family signed a contract with "The Women's Religious-National Movement" (today known as "Emunah"), who took the Home under its patronage. The Sabbah family insisted of course that Mr. Kugler & his wife, who managed the Home with endless love & dedication, would stay and continue their blessed work.
The couple raised the children together with their own, meals were always shared, their days full with unconditional giving. Eliezer Kugler would always be seen with two arms stretched sideways, and two children clinging close…
Sabbah, Sinai, Kugler… one must wonder – why Elazraki?
A number of years after building the new Home, a far-away relative arrived from England together with his wife to visit Israel. They stayed with the Sabbahs. This mature man, whose origins were also from Tangier, was named Victor Elazraki. He had no special connection to Israel, but during that visit things changed for good… While walking through the neighborhood, the Elazraki couple entered the Children's Home and were greatly touched. Shortly after returning to England Mr. Elazraki passed away. His widow contacted the Sabbah family and informed them that her husband z"l, who was "deeply moved from the visit to the Children's Home, and a spark literally lit his heart", has endowed part of his inheritance to the children. The Sabbah family received the donation and as an act of gratitude named the Children's Home after Mr. Victor Elazraki z"l.
In 1976 the Children's Home was registered as an independent non for-profit organization. With time, more & more children were taken in, located & referred to by the Welfare Services. In 1990, Eliezer & Rachel Kugler handed the Directorship to Mr. Yehuda Kohn, who runs the Home together with his wife Riki to this very day. Rachel & Eliezer Kugler have since passed away, though the essence of their great life's work still lingers in every corner of the Home.
"Elazraki" – the answer and the story.