Animal Sanctuary of Hadassah Neurim Youth Village

About the Animal Sanctuary

The Hadassah Neurim Animal Sanctuary is a place for the well-being of animals (wild, domestic and livestock) and people. It is a model for mutual care based on basic principles of proper animal care to nurture both their physical and mental well-being. Our goal is to provide the best home for the animals.


Animal Sanctuary Principles:

The Animal Sanctuary offers a loving home for rescued and abandoned animals. Animals in the Animal Sanctuary receive personalized care based on their specific needs, designed to maximize their physical and emotional well-being. Contact with each animal based on the animal’s own comfort-level and initiative. If an animal does not wish contact with the person, contact shall not be coerced.. The Animal Sanctuary limits the maximum number of animals it houses to avoid overcrowding that could potentially harm their well-being. After their rehabilitation at the Animal Sanctuary, Wild animals that can be successfully released at the end of their rehabilitation period are released back into the wild; Animals that have been successfully rehabilitated as candidates for adoption are available to be adopted by into loving homes. Animals are never bought or sold in the Animal Sanctuary. The focus in the Animal Sanctuary is on the well-being of the animal, first and foremost. The animals are not to be transported for the purpose of treating patients, but rather only for the therapeutic purposes of the animals.

Animal Paddocks

The animal paddocks are a good way for the students to spend time with the animals. Being close to the animals naturally instills in students of affection, empathy, and responsibility towards them – some of this does happen, but in addition the message conveyed by animal corners? is that keeping animals in captivity is legitimate, and their use for educational purposes is justified. If the animals were bought for the animal corner? and animals that died are “replaced” by others – the students receive a message that animals are replaceable goods and are treated as an object.

For the Animal Sanctuary to be morally and educationally appropriate, it is important to establish among the students the understanding that it is not about imprisoning animals to provide entertainment or educational interest, but about providing a space that is a loving home for the animals that live there. These will be animals that cannot safely return to the wild and the Animal Sancetuary becomes their permanent home, or their temporary home if the animal is able to heal.

Visiting hours:

Sundays – Thursdays: 8:00-13:00, 14:00-17:00
For further inquiries:

The Animal Sanctuary in the Hadassah Neurim Youth Village has many projects related to human-animal relations and to animal welfare.

The Animal Sanctuary cooperates with –

The Safari Wildlife Hospital – Our Animal Sanctuary maintains a project with the Safari Wildlife Hospital. In this project, Israeli tortoises and hedgehogs that arrived at the hospital and were treated there after an injury or illness, arrive in our Animal Sanctuary for further treatment and rehabilitation until full rehabilitation and recovery is achieved. After recovery, they are released into the wild where they were found. The restoration process was done as a joint project together with young Hadassah students.

An Israeli tortoise that was apparently injured by a sharp object like a machete arrived at our Animal Sanctuary . We transferred it to the Safari Wildlife Hospital for surgery and repair of the shell. After finishing the treatment in the hospital, the tortoise will return to Animal Sanctuary for further rehabilitation until recovery.
The cute tortoise after the shell repair done at the Safari Wildlife Hospital continues rehabilitation with us at our Animal Sanctuary.

Our animal-assisted emotional therapy program is done in the mutual therapy model of Oranim College and on the Hadassah Youth campus – the Animal Sanctuary serves as an educational and therapeutic place for the animal-assisted emotional therapy program. Students who study in the program carry out their practical work (practicum) in the Animal Sanctuary with the students of the Youth Village. The purpose of the program is to train professionals for therapeutic-emotional work with an emphasis on animal welfare, the contribution of animals to the psychotherapy process based on a dynamic approach.

The treatments take place in the open space with the animals and in more secluded areas.
The emotional treatment room within the Animal Sanctuary.

Additional projects taking place in the Animal Sanctuary –

Animal Welfare Projects

There are various animals in our Animal Sanctuary that need a suitable and more appropriate home for them. We are very busy turning the animal paddocks ? into a living space that provides physical and emotional well-being for the animals that live there.

Rafi project

Presentation of the project at the beginning

When we started our work in sanctuary with the existing animals that were already there, we discovered Rafi – a rattlesnake python, held a small terrarium – much to small for its body. Additionally, there was insufficient stimuli in his terrarium. There was also a display window for the visitors to view the snake. We had a few questions on this topic –
Does the snake have a decent and satisfying life? Or could we do better for him?
What is the educational purpose and value of seeing a snake in the tertium as a display object?
How can a snake live in an inadequate living space while we try and use that snake as a mutual model and animal welfare?

Rafi’s house before the project – a terrarium

At first, we thought it would be best to give Rafi away to someone else, who would give him a better home and we looked for a suitable home for him. But with the searches we realized that even if we move it to another place, we will not solve the problem of making his cramped living space more appropriate – instead we would only be moving the dilemma away from us.

We started thinking about what type of other habitat would be better for Rafi’s emotional and physical well-being: A place where he can experience different heights, textures, ability to move, and at the same time he can gather, groom and rest in a hiding place as he desires, rather than just being on constant display with no privacy.

In the living space there was one relatively large building that Rafi could live in, but it was next to another building where our ferrets, Oliver and Shanty, live.

We wondered –
Can a snake and ferrets live together like this without being harmed or stressed?
We decided to try, but check the various options according to a plan with long steps:
1. We moved the terrarium from the display room that existed in the Animal Sanctuary to the new building where Rafi is not a “display” for anyone. The “exhibition room” became a treatment room for the animals.
2. After the move, Rafi remained inside the terrarium, and we monitored the nature of his activity and that of the ferrets to check the level of stress they might experience. We monitored them to see if they continued to be curious, eat and drink normally or if they behave ddifferently than usual. This situation lasted for many months.
3. Later we renovated Rafi’s structure, to make sure its entry and exit were appropriately sealed to know predatorary animals could reach Rafi (but very small ones could enter and exit). Rafi had freedom to come and go as he wished.
4. We added real soil to the floor, some hay, various branches, and logs and also left his terrarium with the door open so he can decide where he wants to stay.
5. We introduced Rafi to his new home and the possibility of moving between the different spaces and allowing him to go out into the open space under our supervision.

Rafi in his new home

Usually Rafi would shed his skin in parts (with snakes the sheding skin comes off like an upside-down sock, in one piece) and the last time he shed, he shed in one piece 🐍 – for us this is a good sign that he was feeling more emotionally and physically happy and healthy!

The snake’s ability to renew itself with young and fresh skin through exfoliation and more in one piece is likened to a kind of “rebirth” for him and for us.

Thus, in a joint, long, and continuous effort, together with the village students, we managed to do something good, profound, educational and connecting for the other – for our Rafi.

The “Story of a Life” project

Every animal living in the sanctuary has a name, a character, and a life story. We see the animals as a living creature with needs and desires in the emotional and physiological aspect similar to humans, therefore in the living spaces the treatment of each animal depends on and is uniquely adapted to it.
And so, we will record the story of his life –

Where did it come from?
The procedure for his admission (and his rehabilitation – if any)
Preparation of a behavioral profile that includes the nature of his relationships with members of his species, other animals, and humans.
Giving a name to the animal (if it doesn’t have one).
The work process is done with the village students through written and photographic documentation.

“The Challenges” Project

Life in a cage can be physically and/or mentally degenerating for the animals. Therefore, all animals must be provided with diverse and changing sensory and cognitive challenges. The various projects will be developed together with the students according to the changing needs of each animal in the area, for example:
Adding branches and changing the location of the branches for rats and rodents to offer them variety and new things to explore.
Construction of various shelters/mazes for the ferrets (ball pool, open containers of different sizes with camel wool and more)
Construction of buildings for height and enrichment for the goats.
Building food challenges for the nasuas.[I don’t know what this is}
Feeding challenges for the goats and deer.

“Point of View” Photography Workshop

An observational photography workshop explores the presence of animals.
The purpose of the workshop is to expose the students of the village to a conscious view of the ’emotional world of humans and animals’ and ‘regarding others’ using photographic tools.
In addition, the students learn to work on photography angles, image enhancement applications and graphic design software to produce posts, articles and postcards on the topics studied.
At the end of the workshop, the trainees prepare their final project based on the topics of the workshop.
The workshop exhibition is held in a space in a animal paddocks[?] with an audience of participants from the village and the community.

“Touch the Material” Workshop

In this workshop, we create with materials from nature and recycled materials.
We create art and useful tools for the Animal Sanctuary and for our the agricultural program.
Part of the essence of the workshop is the opportunity to let the students express content from their inner world through the creative materials. In the workshop we learn to make tools with different materials from nature and with clay in sculpting work and stones.

Environmental Ethics Studies

As part of the environmental sciences major, the students come to the Animal Shelter to study environmental ethics in involving a person’s relationship to a living creature and the moral status of a living creature as an individual.

Animal Behaviour Studies

As part of biology studies, students come to the Animal Sanctuary learn about all aspects of animal behavior: physical, behavioral, emotional, and social.