Quittman Center and Ma'on Bnai Zion Special Homes

Interview Questions

Name Yorai Levin from Israel Elwyn - Quittman Center

What is your title and what are your main responsibilities here?

Director of Residential Services at the Zvi Quittman Center at Israel Elwyn

We have 250 people on campus here and we give 24-hour treatment 365 days of the year.  We have a dental clinic, an occupational therapy center, a rehabilitation center and others, and I’m in charge of all the staff and the facilities.

How long have you been working here?

For nine years.  I’ve been in this job for four years.  Prior to that I was in charge of part of the Quittman Center at Israel Elwyn, and before that I was a case manager.  I studied psychology and management of non-profit  operations at Hebrew University.

Tell us a bit about your personal background and how you came to work here.

That’s a good question!  I responded to an ad in the newspaper right after college.  I was working with computers but I wanted to work in my field.

What are the most important aspects of this place – its functions, what it offers, etc.  

It’s all important.  The best things is that we believe everyone can do more and advance, which is why we get results.  People need a lot of support and because we believe that they can do the maximum, it helps the ‘philosophy of doing.’   We work to empower people to control their own lives – people who cannot live in the community, which is a very big challenge and requires a lot of positive thinking.   We teach people how to control their own lives, how to take their own medications, etc.  There is a great story about a woman here who was not forced to take her medications so as to teach her control over her own life, which is wonderful.  Change does come.

How has this place evolved since you’ve been here?

We did a lot of building; we renovated one building and made it residential with six apartments and ten people in each, with private rooms, their own washing machine and dryer; residents learn how  to use them, and some can, which is part of the process of empowerment and independence.  We’re planning to populate a new building with 32 people in four apartments.  We’d like to make the whole campus accessible to wheelchairs.  Because of the hills of the campus [the campus is on a sprawling, steep slope], we are leveling the middle.  We’ll finish the new kitchen, where some residents work.

What is the most visible mark of the Bnai Zion role here?

The campus itself – the whole idea is from Bnai Zion!  We associate Bnai Zion with the whole place and all our projects.

What are your biggest or proudest accomplishments here?

Wow!  One person came from elsewhere and had a tube in his stomach and couldn’t eat.  In six months he started to eat and now he can eat.  They removed the tube after six months.   Someone else came to us in a wheelchair and then started walking.  We have hundreds of stories like that…

What do you envision for the future here?

A lot of things:  first, I want to see happy people.  I want to see residents do more and more on their own and be part of a community.  I want to finish the buildings and provide more privacy for everyone.  Every year we are changing.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job here?

Every time I see a change, like a new building or a permit to build or something a resident did.
Today a resident made mishloach manot for Purim and gave them out to people at Hadassah Hospital and contributed to the community and to see so many smiles was wonderful!   People are more accepting of those with special needs and it is good press for them.

If you could change or improve something here, what would it be?

I’d provide more privacy for residents and more professionals on staff from other areas.
We operate on government funding but we need more physical therapists, massage therapists, other various therapy practitioners, and to implement new ideas where we could get great results. 

We definitely need a bigger budget.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working here?

I met my wife at Israel Elwyn; she’s a social worker [no longer at Israel Elwyn].  Actually I met both of my wives here.  I met my ex-wife [no longer at Israel Elwyn] here nine years ago, and my current wife, three years ago.  I like to play soccer and enjoy watching it as well; I enjoy reading Israeli fiction and my favorite author is A. B. Yehoshua.  I like to spend time with my family and I have two daughter

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