“Give me a fish and I will eat for a day. Teach me how to fish and I will eat for life” (Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 479 – 571)
The Hod to Success Foundation began as a community initiative in 2008 and became an official foundation in 2019. The Foundation provides families of Ethiopian origin – the most underprivileged Jewish community in Israel – the tools for personal empowerment to prepare them for independent living. The Foundation aims to help parents and children realize their individual skills and talent, which will lead them to success.
The Foundation’s chairman is Drew Marks, a passionate Zionist from Australia and expert in international business development and financial planning. The Foundation and its activities are supported by the generous donations from Australian Jewry.
The initiative was started in 2008 by an Australian couple Simon and Rebecca Ehrlich with their two children Sara and Joel. While spending 5 months living in Israel, the family began to sponsor a single mother bringing up her eight children in a predominantly Ethiopian neighborhood in Netanya.
In addition to providing financial assistance, the Ehrlich family would take these children on outings, developing a deep personal connection with the entire family that continues to this day.
In 2010 the Ehrlich’s daughter Sara celebrated her bat mitzvah in Israel and instead of receiving gifts she raised further funds to support this family. At this time Simon and Rebecca wondered how from so far away they would be able to continue to sustain the project. They approached an Israel-based family friend, Drew Marks (the Foundation chairman today) and requested that he continue the process along with the family. Together, they developed the values and principles that constitute the basis of the Hod to Success Foundation’s work.
Tal and Simone Harpaz from Australia joined the project in 2012 and together with Simon and Rebecca Ehrlich are the main supporters of the Foundation.
The Road to Success
The Foundation’s work focuses on helping and mentoring families of Ethiopian descent. The concept is based on the belief that all family members must be part of the process. The Foundation accompanies the family in a long and arduous journey to strengthen self-image, build emotional strength, and encourage personal development and growth. Throughout the process, the Foundation provides counselling and mentoring for family members and encourages education, military service and contributing to the community. Where necessary, the Foundation intervenes to pay for courses and lessons including training in basic skills such as swimming.
The Foundation believes that with the correct tools, direction and increased awareness, every individual can go beyond the boundaries imposed by their environment, achieve success, develop as individuals, and find happiness and fulfilment. The Foundation therefore embraces education and the acquisition of knowledge as core values of the process – tools that may assist family members to build a better future, become independent and have a positive influence on their environment.