Testimonials and Case Studies

Mavar member – anonymous

So far my first week at university has been amazing, much easier than I expected. I got to know many people, settle-in my new flat and understand more or less how my course will operate for this coming year.

I would like to express my deepest thanks for helping me achieve this.

My goal in the past few years was to get where I am today, and now, I am here. It would not have been possible without the countless hours you have put aside for me, not getting anything in return.


Mavar member – anonymous

“I’ve just received offers from two Russell Group universities for a postgrad programme and I’m still in absolute disbelief!

Never, in all my years, did I dream that one day I would have these offers from top universities. 

My old dreams included a multitude of children and a poor lifestyle in the name of holiness. My old life was filled with parents that couldn’t quite deal with their own multitude of children, never quite had enough money to buy us new clothes, and a huge number of rules that dictated our every move. I had various medical conditions that I was forced to deal with on my own.  I left home as soon as I could, however, my first job fell through because I never had training. My upbringing bit me in the back and I now had to deal with navigating my way through the British university system. I reached out to Mavar.

The director put me in touch with her education specialist who has been an invaluable source of guidance. We chatted too many times to remember: she explained the application process, which universities to apply to and what they’re looking for. I sent her my personal statement and she gave me feedback on each sentence via a voice message on WhatsApp, ensuring it remained my work and my style.  Mavar also gave me links of places to apply to for grants. I know how fortunate I am to have this guidance.  It took months but I got to interview stage, got the offers and finally, I accepted my first choice.

I could have been married with all those children.  Instead I am living my life true to my own beliefs, about to start a year at one of the best universities in the country.  It means nothing to my family, but I got support from Mavar.

“I am immensely grateful to Mavar for helping me reach a reality beyond my wildest dreams.”

Mavar member – anonymous

Mavar helped me when no one else could even understand me.

I could write and write and never stop…….

As a deeply thoughtful and studious person, I always felt myself to be one of the extreme and strong members of the ultra-Orthodox community. I aspired to greatness in my religious life and all my acquaintances came to praise me. I grew up in a very closed world, where I never had the opportunity to know what kind of other lives exist or to understand whether their way of life may be more satisfying and real.  After my wedding, I continued with the usual framework of Kollel and learning Gemara, but something inside was gnawing at me without rest, I felt completely empty.

At one point in my life, I came into close contact with people unconnected with the Jewish religion. They were sensitive and nice and they respected me as a human being without interest in my background or religion. I realised that I’m a human just like everyone else on this planet. I got to know something about the real world, learning that people aren’t measured by what they believe in. At this point something in me craved to go out of community boundaries and be who I really am and not what others expect me to be, but I didn’t know how and where to start. I knew English at a very low level and had no basic background in general studies. I felt stuck without a starting point. At this point, I was lucky to meet someone who had heard my banter and told me: Why not try contacting “Mavar”? They will be very happy to help you.

It took me a few more frustrating months until I had the courage, and dialled in fear to the hotline where I was greeted warmly and with understanding. For the first time I felt that I had nothing to be frightened of, that I could be me. I was given a mentor who spends time listening to me with a lot of love and sympathy. The mentor didn’t encourage me to take dramatic steps of departure or to escape from where I grew up. She helped me to walk slowly in my own way to find myself, whether or not people in the community would approve.

I realised that no-one at Mavar was trying to convince me about my religion or anything else; that the organisation is not on a mission to change the way I think.

I can see that it is an organisation that tries to help young people like me integrate into the wider world regardless of my level of religion, and without asking for compensation.

Today, I still live in Stamford Hill, live a spiritual life with a personal connection with God,

but without committing to things that other people in the community would expect from me;  and with an open mind, learning high-level English, maths, IT, and on my way to getting work in high-tech, which has been my dream all along.

(and in Hebrew)

.מעבר עזר לי כשאף אחד אחר לא יכל לעזור לי

.אני יכול לכתוב ולא לגמור אף פעם.. אנסה לתמצת את מה שאני רוצה להביע כאן

בתור בן אדם מעמיק ויסודי נמניתי תמיד על הקיצוניים והחזקים שבקהילה החרדית, שאפתי לגדולות בתחום וכל מכירי גמרו עלי את ההלל. גדלתי באווירה סגורה מאוד, במקום שלא נותן לך אפשרות בכלל לדעת שקיימים חיים אחרים ושאולי הם יותר מספקים ואמיתיים, אך תמיד היה נראה לי כאילו משהוא בכל הסיסטם הזה לא מושלם, לא מספק. לאחר חתונתי המשכתי במסגרת הרגילה של כולל ולימוד גמרא, אבל משהוא בפנים כירסם בי ללא מנוח, הרגשתי ריק לחלוטין. בשלב מסוים ניסיתי לצאת לעבודה כדי לנסות ולהרגיש יותר מלא, זה עזר במידה מסוימת אבל עדיין משהוא .לא היה רגוע

בתחנה מסויימת בחיי, הגעתי לקשר קרוב עם אנשים שלא נימנו על הדת היהודית והיו מאוד אנושיים, רגישים ונחמדים. למדתי להכיר את העולם מצידו האמיתי, לדעת שהאדם נמדד לפי מה שהוא באמת, ולא לפי מה שהוא מאמין בו. בשלב הזה משהוא בתוכי כמה לצאת מהמסגרות הכובלות הקהילתיות ולהיות מי שאני באמת ולא מי שאחרים מצפים\דורשים ממני להיות ולהיראות, אבל לא ידעתי איך וכמה ומהיכן בעצם להתחיל, לא ידעתי כמעט אנגלית ולא היה לי רקע בסיסי בלימודים כלליים. הרגשתי תקוע ללא מוצא. בנקודת הזמן הזו פגשתי בהשגחה פרטית בן אדם ששמע קצת על התחבטויותיי ואמר לי: למה שלא תנסה ליצור קשר עם “מעבר”? הם מאד ישמחו לעזור לך

לקח לי עוד מספר חודשים של תסכול עד שאזרתי אומץ וחייגתי בפחד לקו החם שם קיבלו אותי בחום ובהבנה, לראשונה הרגשתי שאין לי ממה לפחד, שאני יכול להיות אני. קיבלתי מנטור [אדם מבוגר עם נסיון] שמלווה אותי עם המון אהבה וסימפטיה לאורך כל הדרך עד היום. המנטור עודד אותי לא לעשות צעדים דרמטיים של עזיבה ובריחה מהיכן שגדלתי, רק לנסות ולמצוא את הדרך והמקום שלי בעולם במקום שהכי  נכון עבורי

,הבנתי שב”מעבר” אף אחד לא מנסה לשכנע אותי בקשר לדת שלי שהאירגון אינו סוג של מסיון כמו שיש כאילו שמנסים להציג אותו

ראיתי שמדובר באירגון שמנסה לעזור לצעירים כמוני להשתלב בעולם הרחב בלי כל קשר לרמת הדת שלי, ושמחפש נטו לעזור ללא בקשת תמורה

היום אני עדיין גר בסטמפורד היל

מאמין באלוקים וחי חיים רוחניים עם קשר אישי איתו

, אבל עם הראש פתוח, לומד אנגלית ברמה גבוהה, חשבון, מחשבים, והולך להשיג עבודה למתקדמים בתחום ההייטק, שזה היה החלום שלי כל הזמן

Mavar member – anonymous

It was around the end of last June when I finally got the courage to make that phone call. I sat in the car overwhelmed, thinking … kept turning the phone on and off almost pressing the green button and immediately regretting.  Eventually I called – I knew I didn’t have a choice.

Her name was “Alex” she said when I started to tell her my story. I told her how I grew up in a frum family in Israel, how when I was 19 I’d got married to a girl I only met once for 50 minutes. How for the last few years I’m forced to hide from any living creature the fact that I lost my faith in Orthodox Judaism, expected to live a false double life filled with shame and guilt. I told her how the unavoidable discovery of that fact almost caused my expulsion from my own house, that in the near future I will likely be required to leave home, my 3 sweet children, my cosy well-paying  job, and start from scratch.

It is hard to believe it was only nine months ago. How much has changed since that single call.

Mavar provided me solutions to almost any obstacle that came up.

Inevitably, not long after that call I had to leave. Mavar was there, helping with emotional support, legal advice, always having connections with the right professionals for any advice needed.

Soon after I called Mavar I started to think about education. Going to university has always been an impossible target for me. Alien cultural rules and the lack of elementary education have been an insurmountable barrier, but then, after being in contact with Mavar, I suddenly realised “Yes, I can do that!”. Not only I can get some education, I can get any education, I can aim to the top. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Mavar’s education expert made the impossible possible. 

She guided and advised me through the whole process. Thanks to her I made it. I currently have two offers: one from King’s College, the other from UCL.

Being in this place now, studying, living my own life, having sorted my previous life and looking forward with excitement, I can say none of it would have happened without that single phone call on a sunny June morning. The call I knew I had to make.”

Mavar member – anonymous

A note by one of our members to our education specialist:

“This week I began my studies for an MA in History! Your advice helped me tremendously. When I first started thinking about entering the academic world I felt very overwhelmed, as I was confused as to what I wanted to focus on, and I did not have anybody to guide me.

As such, it was wonderful to have someone to talk to.

You clarified the different areas of study, their advantages and disadvantages, and this helped me decide what would suit my interests and abilities best. I am really appreciative of how generous you have been with your time!”

…. and writing about his mentor he said:

Talking to him has been invaluable.

Mavar member – anonymous

“One of my biggest fears of leaving the community I grew up in, was the fear of being left alone in this world, alone without family, friends, and community. After I made the decision to leave, a very close relative of mine told me, ‘you will be alone, like a dog in the street, no one will care, and they will be right not to!’

My relative was wrong! He didn’t know about Mavar! Mavar has been there for me every step of the way. Mavar was a listening ear when I needed; Mavar was there to guide me patiently on my path to freedom; Mavar was there to supply me private tutoring, to catch up with my secular studies. Mavar provided me with a therapist, to discuss my journey and personal development. And finally thanks to Mavar I was accepted into a respectful University!

“I still have a long journey ahead of me, but I am not worried, and you know why? Because Mavar exists!” 

Mavar member – anonymous

When I was growing up in Stamford Hill, I was given no secular education at all. I spoke only the most basic English. I used to go to a friend’s home and talk with him about how I might improve my education. He mentioned Mavar to me, so I called the telephone number.

Mavar gave me a mentor to answer my questions and help me get on with my studies.

When I spoke to my mentor, I felt that I had found someone who understands me and who supports me. 

Thanks to her help, I am now studying what I have wanted to study for a long time. I still have a long journey ahead.

I don’t like to write about my personal life which has been difficult. I always try to look to my future and not my past. When I was in contact with my mentor, I spoke to her about it and she helped me. If not for Mavar and my mentor I don’t know at what stage I would be now in my personal life.

Because my religious level has changed, I am not seen as a good person within the Stamford Hill community. Besides which, there is no one to whom to turn for advice on education in the community. Mavar do not look at my religious level.

I know that many other people feel as I felt. They have no one to turn to.
When I saw the Yiddish on the website it meant a lot for me, because I felt that Mavar was a “heimish” organisation and would understand people like myself from an ultra Orthodox community.

It was professional and confidential which also meant a lot.

I am not yet at the point where I feel confident to speak openly about Mavar to other people in the community who want to learn more about the outside world. However, I have told a few people about Mavar and they now know where they can find someone to speak to.

Mavar member – anonymous

When I first started thinking about changing my life, leaving the Haredi community I grew up in and the lifestyle I was so used to, the thought terrified me. How could I possibly do it? Even if I would ever pluck up the courage, the hurdles I’d have to go through were enormous. What would happen if I told my parents and they cut me off? With no money to my name and absolutely no education, I would probably end up on the streets.

Everything changed when I discovered Mavar. 

After the first phone call I already felt more secure. They assigned me a mentor to help me work through all the problems – and solve the problems she did. Mavar arranged temporary accommodation to help me in the first few months. They helped me financially when I was struggling, and they helped me greatly with my education. Their educational specialist was and still is a great help.

Without their help I would probably still be stuck in a life I didn’t believe in.

But due to their help I’m now a settled human being living life the way I choose. I can’t thank them enough!

Mavar member – anonymous

When I first started to feel trapped in the community I grew up in, there seemed to be no way out. Everything beyond the virtual ghetto walls was frightening, foreign and far. It felt like I was going to be stuck there for the rest of my life and be destined to a suffocating lifestyle I no longer believed in.

This was until I found Mavar. When I first reached out to Mavar I was not sure what to expect.

I was immediately reassured that these people are people I can trust.

They had the will and the means to help me. Initially, not having anywhere to live, I was welcomed in by a lovely family for temporary accommodation. Mavar then helped me find a job and guided me towards enrolling at college.

I was assigned several mentors to guide me through issues related to integrating: an education mentor, a personal mentor and a weekly counsellor. Mavar lent me money whilst I was looking for work and got grants for me to pay the initial deposit and rent on the student housing they found for me. I was also given a laptop, essential for my studies, a grant to buy basic household needs and a grant to help with the cost of GCSE courses.

Mavar has saved my spiritual life by giving me the possibility of starting life anew and to live a self-determined life in the way I choose.

Mavar has granted me my freedom and has opened up our wonderful world with its endless opportunities.

Thank you Mavar!