Open Hearts Open Homes

Open Hearts Open Homes invites Israeli teens whose lives have been forever changed due to terrorism – the loss of a loved one, living in constant fear of the next attack, not knowing life without sirens – to spend three weeks during the summer enjoying respite, home hospitality, travel camp activities, and fun with American peers.

Impact in Israel

Open Hearts Open Homes has changed the lives of families who are challenged by a traumatic past or who have suffered the impact of terrorism. By all accounts, its therapeutic value is extraordinary and helps many begin the process of psychological healing.

Impact in Northern NJ

To extend this lifeline of support and respite, Open Hearts Open Homes relies on the support of you and the entire Bergen County Jewish community.

  • Hosting is a rewarding, life transforming experience. By welcoming a teen into your home, not only do you provide comforting and comfortable surroundings for them, you gain new insight into their experiences and everyday life half a world away.
  • Donations in any amount are greatly appreciated. A gift of $6,500 provides a full scholarship for one teen to participate.

Read about 2019’s teens here

OHOH 2019

Meet This Year’s Teens!

Erica Danziger | MON, JUN 17, 2019

We are so excited to announce this year’s Open Hearts Open Homes teens. They are a group of well-deserving kids who have all suffered at the hands of terrorism in…

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Happy smiles all around!

Teens Bond with Therapeutic Animals and Each Other

npgadmin | WED, MAY 01, 2019

The Open Hearts Open Homes teens of 2019 recently visited with the Therapeutic Animal Center in Sderot, Israel and also took the opportunity to start to get to know each…

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The teens arrive!

Open Hearts Open Homes 2019 – Journal Entry #1: The teens arrive!

Erica Danziger | TUE, AUG 27, 2019

The Israeli teens may have just left New Jersey after three weeks together with us but our memories of our time together with them are still vivid and bright. Here’s…

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Dressed for Shabbat

Open Hearts Open Homes 2019 – Journal Entry #2: Fun in the Sun

Erica Danziger | MON, AUG 26, 2019

Journal Entry #2: Fun in the Sun Along the way of the three weeks together, the Israeli teens from the Open Hearts Open Homes program found their footing in New…

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Photo credit: Ruth Beckman

Open Hearts Open Homes 2019 – Journal Entry #3 – Saying Goodbye but not Forever

Erica Danziger | MON, AUG 26, 2019

Journal Entry #3 – Saying Goodbye but not Forever After a never-long-enough three weeks together, our host families and teens had to say goodbye. The ripple effect of this year’s…

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More events coming soon!

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Sponsorship Opportunities for Summer of 2021

Make a difference in an Israeli teen’s life by sponsoring an Open Hearts Open Homes student or activity.

Teen Hero:


Sponsor at teen and cover all costs for one Israeli teen’s round trip travel and participation in our spectacular program.

Shabbat Benefactor:


Treat our teens and community to a catered Friday night dinner and Shabbat service.

Shalom Promoter:


Provide a fabulous three-day, two-night stay at a JCC-affiliated sleep away camp.

Day Trip Dynamo:


Sponsor one of the deluxe day trips that makes this program so exciting, such as Six Flags Great Adventure, a trip to the Jersey Shore and Aquarium or an Off-Broadway show in NYC.

Staycation Friend:


Sponsor a local fun day for our teens, such as Tree Top Rope Course, Escape Room, White Water Rafting or Ninja Warrior Course and a group meal out.

OHOH Sparkler:


Treat our teens to a fabulous American-style 4th of July party – complete with games, grilled goodies and festive seasonal decor.

T-Shirt Sponsor:


Gift a souvenir t-shirt, OHOH insulated lunch box and reusable water bottle to each of our teens to have as a keepsake.

Pizza Party Champion:


Treat the teens to a pizza party — always delicious!

Ice Cream Party Booster:


Sweeten their day with a treat at a local creamery.

Friends of OHOH:


Contribute to the program’s overall experience. All gifts are appreciated.

Or send check payable to JCCNNJ/OHOH.

Mail to:
Elana Prezant, OHOH
JCC of Northern New Jersey
50 Eisenhower Drive
Paramus, NJ 07652

cell: 201-805-2004

The advance warning systems failed.

No alarms sounded.

A bomb landed in Orel’s backyard!

These are the stories we hear from the teenagers living in Israel at the border of Gaza.

We know you share with us the feelings of dread and helplessness as we hear stories of ongoing violence and terror in Israel. We visit Israel and meet young people similar in every way to our own children. These teens lives have been devastated by hatred and violence and it breaks our hearts.

But there is a way for you to make a difference. Open Hearts Open Homes is a program through the JCC of Northern NJ to help bring comfort to Israeli teens affected by terrorism to our community for the summer. Twenty teens are selected to experience hope and healing during three weeks each summer.

Please help us make this 19th summer an outstanding one for these Israeli teens, like Orel, and our community.

If you have any questions about Open Hearts Open Homes or are interested in hosting an Israeli teen this summer, please contact Elana Prezant at (201) 805-2004 or [email protected]

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OHOH Host family fun
OHOH Host Family Outting