Newsletter no.1 - Fall 2021
Comeback was established in 2019. Its mission is to provide former offenders with the tools to find meaningful jobs and ascend the employment ladder.
Our Restart program helps participants find employment and foster job stability.
The Nitzotzot program provides former offenders who are already employed with the tools to fulfill their higher employment vision.
Since our inception, nearly 100 former offenders have participated in our programs. Meaningful employment gives this community the opportunity to create a new reality. It helps them gain the stability, security, self-confidence and discipline necessary to successfully reintegrate into society.
As a result of its success with its participants, Comeback has been requested by various groups – from municipal courts to the Prisoners Rehabilitation Authority -- to lead workshops for their professionals.
In July we completed our second trainers’ course for certified coaches. In the course, the coaches learn about our target population, how to work with them, and about the importance of incorporating formerly incarcerated individuals into society by their becoming part of the workforce.
Over the past year we have developed a dedicated group of volunteers, which is consistently expanding. With such a wide-ranging team, Comeback is able to be active in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramla, Lod, and Beersheba. Our volunteers include professionals such as lawyers, auditors, certified coaches, and social media experts, as well as those from other spheres who want to contribute their time and effort.
If you would like to volunteer for Comeback in any capacity, please refer to the Volunteer section of our website.
In order to develop and advance its activities, Comeback applied to the Social Hub. The Hub is an accelerator for social initiatives led by Joint Israel and Social Security. Each participant is paired with a mentor in the field of public service, who helps him/her reach his/her potential. Of approximately 250 initiatives, Comeback was one of the 15 selected.
Over the past few months, Comeback was the subject of a number of articles and features in the Israeli media, telling the story of the NGO, our participants and volunteers. Among the media outlets that covered our story were Kan 11 (Israel’s national news channel), Channel 20, Reshet Bet radio, and the Hebrew daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot. To view any of these articles in Hebrew and/or TV features, open this link:
Thanks to this media coverage, Comeback was invited to lead various programs in four local prisons: Nitzan, Carmel, Gilboa, and Hermon. We led employment workshops and met with inmates who were about to be released. As it now stands, prisoners who are about to be released or have recently been released are referred to us by the prison authorities.
Comeback: The power to change
By Haggai Reznik Former director general of the Ministry
for Communal Strengthening & Development
Over the years, I have held many positions in the public sector, such as director general of the Ministry of Construction and Housing; director general of the Ministry of Trust in the Authority for Combating Violence, Drugs, and Alcohol; and head of the National Headquarters for the Protection of Children on the Internet.
I have often been exposed to the powerful activities of the third sector. However, I had never encountered the likes of the activities that Comeback undertakes. Its programs provide former felons with life skills training and offers them a second chance which they otherwise would not obtain.
The ability to receive training and companionship, to feel equal and capable are factors that save former lawbreakers from returning to the recurring cycle of recidivism. Such affirmative reinforcement protects them from returning to the walls of imprisonment.
Comeback deals with prisoners with full release and not just one-third releases, which the state is mainly aiming for. Hence, the NGO caters to a critical sector that does not receive adequate attention. The investment in them is a socio-economic investment.
Everyone would like to feel capable, productive, and appreciated, but not everyone has a life that affords them such an opportunity. When former felons are entangled in a web of uncertainty, Comeback provides them with the tools -- and thereby the power -- to change. They learn how to create a positive environment for themselves and for those around them.
The work that Comeback does and its sincere dedication to the task strike a chord in my heart, and I will always be glad to help the organization in its endeavors.
To be born again
By Nurit Hadass Coaching Coordinator
I met Rosa (not her real name) as part of my volunteering as a life coach at Comeback. She was a 28-year-old mother of four. That figure to That fact.
Our connection was made after Matan, the manager of Comeback, called to tell me about a highly energetic woman who needed guidance on how to advance in the workforce.
Rosa and I arranged to have our meeting via Zoom. From our very first session, I realized that I was in the presence of someone who really wanted to change her path. She wanted to amend what had gone wrong in her life and was willing to do whatever it took to turn things around.
Rosa did not immediately tell me why she was undergoing rehabilitation by order of a community court. And I didn’t ask. It was important for me to maintain a distance from her past. Our goal was to look ahead.
Within two sessions, we were able to identify Rosa’s objective. Having worked at a bakery, she was interested in becoming a control inspector. In her view, it was a position from which she cold develop herself and improve her situation. She could earn a higher salary and move forward in life.
During our subsequent sessions, Rosa delved into what that would entail. What would she have to learn and where? What could she do with a quality auditor’s certificate? Would the bakery be able to obtain the certificate for her, and what would she be permitted to do if she wanted to work elsewhere?
We mapped out the future. We set goals. With every session, Rosa became more motivated and more focused.
In the process, she learned about her capabilities. She learned to ask for help and information. She understood how much determination she had and especially understood that her life could be very different.
Out meetings also gave her the opportunity to tell me what had happened to her. How she had immigrated to Israel at age 16 with her parents. They lived in a low-income neighborhood, where there was quite a lot of crime. Her parents did not fit into that environment. The atmosphere in her home was tense, and her father tried to maintain strict control within their four walls.
Rosa met a guy, and at age 17 she married him so she could leave home. She soon became became pregnant and thus found herself living the life of a grown-up when she was still a child herself.
To earn money, she cleaned houses. However, the economic pressures and the feeling that she was all alone in the world compelled her to steal from the houses she cleaned. Ultimately, she was caught.
That happened several years ago, but she was still ashamed to talk about it. Her actions did not correspond with her values. No one in her family knew about it and what she went through.
I saw in front of me a strong, powerful, hard-working woman whose life had led her to make choices out of distress. It made me realize how one’s personal story often depends on luck. So much depends on the kind of what family one is born into, with a biography woven by other people while we were children. I asked myself, “What would I have done if I had been in her situation?”
After eight training sessions, Rosa found a confectionery school where she could begin to study the following month. It was a well-reputed school that was expensive. She was able to obtain the funding from her workplace. That in itself proved how much they trusted her and regarded her as a person who was worth investing in.
Rosa learned to ask. She learned to reveal her dreams to the world. She learned to trust herself and to aim high. And she learned that her past should not define the future that she could create.
And I learned a lot from Rosa as well. I saw firsthand that even from the darkest of places that seem hopeless, one can climb back up. Although her Hebrew is still heavily accented with her mother tongue, Rosa lowered the barriers of shame and is a source of pride for herself and her children.
Some day when Rosa is ready to tell her story and use her real name, you will understand for yourself what an inspiration this woman is.
For questions or any further information,
please contact us at email@example.com