Social Magic Movement
Assistance Communities for Transformation
Social Magic (NGO) is a social voluntary movement, acting to alleviate loneliness and to build solidarity among individuals and groups, by forming Assistance Communities for Transformation (ACT – In Hebrew, the acronym means Magic). The movement, established during the social demonstrations of the summer of 2011, gives professional multi-faceted aid-services to citizens who find it hard to cope with the harsh socio-economic reality in Israel and assists individuals and families to overcome loneliness, poverty, debts, sickness, and the accompanying hardships. By establishing change-facilitating social-aid communities, we connect such individuals with volunteers, ‘companions’, who provide personal aid, as well as with professionals - economists, legal aids, social workers, and counselors, who form a wide-ranging professional support network.
The Movement's Vision
We are a social activist movement that harnesses the power of Assistance Communities for Transformation to establish the social and financial strength of citizens, to remove the separating barriers which create loneliness and to build solidarity among individuals and groups throughout the state of Israel. We will not cease until all beings are held in another's mind.
We are inspired by great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, and the non-violent popular movements they led.
Our dream is to bring about social healing, to help create bridges between people and social sectors in the country, and to work towards the establishment of a cohesive and healthy society.
On July 14, 2012, during a demonstration that marked one year since the breakout of the biggest wave of social protest in Israeli history, the late Moshe Silman self-immolated. This act of suicide was a tragic expression of the loss of hope and desperation of a man who had been unable to find his way out of deep and prolonged economic straits. Silman immolated himself publicly, but he coped with his hardships alone.
Two days after the horrific and tragic event, it became known to Niv Agam, founder and chair of the NGO, that a group of people who experienced similar hardships threatened to self-immolate. Agam suggested to establish a network of assistance communities, which will promote connection between different classes and sectors of the society and foster shared action towards social change. With this idea we began the Social Magic journey.
From the very first moment, it became clear that Simlan’s tragedy was not a mere personal tragedy, but represented a deep and wide-ranging social problem. The view with which we embarked on the path, is that every challenge - economic, health, legal, emotional or social – becomes easier to deal with when we are not alone. And that this is so in every facet of life. In fact, it is loneliness itself, "the hidden pandemic", that is in many cases, the core challenge.
For this reason, we were happy to hear that on January 2018, more than 4 years after we started our journey, a Minister for Loneliness Issues was appointed in Britain, in order to cope with what the British Prime Minister called "the sad reality of modern life for too many people". In our view, the willingness of someone to be present for another is enough to bring about a deep change in dealing with this problem and other challenges that come with it. "Love thy neighbor as thyself". The essence of the whole Torah. And we have also found a way to turn this view into practice.
Thanks to the generosity of "Inspiration Group", the Founding Investors of Social Magic Movement, we have established 7 communities in Tel-Aviv, Herzlyia, Ramat-Gan, Lod and Holon, and also an intra-organizational community in "Strauss", Petah-Tikva, since we started on this path in July 2012. During these years we accompanied and assisted hundreds of individuals and families and had the privilege of guiding hundreds of volunteers. The profound changes that took place in the lives of so many of the people we walk the path with, and who are our inspiration, continuously move us and give us strength (some personal stories by participants and companions and others can be found in our Gallery" page).
As an ideology and as part of our vision of building social cohesion, we collaborate and build partnerships with all sectors. In every place where we build communities, we collaborate with the local municipality, the local community center and the local academic institutes, among those are the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzlyia, Tel-Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, The Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo and others. In addition to the "Strauss" company, we have also partnered with Hapoalim Bank and Leumi Bank. APM law firm and BDO Ziv Haft accounting firm have represented us (pro-bono) since we set out on this journey.
In its first 7 years the movement has acted as a separate NGO (Social Magic). During the years 2019-2020, due to the political entanglement in Israel and consequent lack of budget which held back the movement, combined with the Covid-19 crisis which forced a temporary reduction in the Movement's activity, a process of merging the organization’s activity into the greater vision of "Dreamers’ Home" (NGO) had begun.
Because we are the people that we have been waiting for, and because it is time to change direction and start over.
The Magic Formula
The movement operates in the form of a network of assistance communities, that provide the assistance to citizens in need, by coordinating volunteers and professionals. The unique model that we have developed in 'Social Magic' uses the immense power of the community as assistance leverage for individuals and as a way to relieve loneliness of both the volunteering companions and of the participants. The movement cooperates with all sectors of society – the public sector, the business sector, the third sector and the academy.
Work in Pairs
The movement pairs each person who contacts us for assistance with a companion, who works with them individually. The pairs meet once a week, construct an assistance-plan for each participant, and implement the plan. These meetings are where the companion and the participant develop companionship and build trust. In the conversations they have, the story of the participant’s life is shared, as well as the hardships they are facing, and the assistance they wish to receive. The companion learns how they might be able to help, and a joint effort is made to identify possible solutions.
In order to properly respond to hardships that often accompany the financial hardship of our participants, ‘Social Magic’ offers multifaceted assistance by professionals—accountants, psychologists, and lawyers (one-stop-shop).
The Power of a Community
In addition to meeting with their companions, the participants and the companions both take part in community meetings. Participants from all parts of society use these meetings to search together for practical solutions to hardships. They offer mutual support, study, and participate together in workshops. They thus strengthen their sense of belonging and self-esteem. This is of particular importance to people in need. In this manner, over time, we aim to rebuild social cohesiveness in Israel.
As part of the activity, both individual and group-community meetings are held. Apart from the comprehensive assistance provided to each participant, the casing for community activity is the 16 Guidelines International Program, which the association brought to Israel in 2020. The program is based on a simple idea - we can change the way we experience the world, through deep reflection and change the way we think, act, refer to others and find meaning. Exploring the 16 guidelines, which express universal values, enables a deeper acquaintance with ourselves, breaking down restrictive self-perceptions, improving our relationships, making better decisions and finding peace of mind and resilience, even in times of crisis. For more about the 16G Guidelines (16G) program- click here
Social Activism to Facilitate Policy Changes
As of today, tens of thousands of Israelis face severe financial, legal, employment-related, bureaucratic, as well as psychological hardships. We refuse to remain indifferent, and leave people alone to fend for themselves. We act in order to personally assist each and every person who seeks our help, and in order to facilitate policy changes and put social hardships on the national agenda. We promote civil action, taking responsibility, and wide-ranging action to restore the belief that we, together as citizens, have the power to bring about change.
The Structure of Magic Communities
Each community has about 35 members: 15 volunteer companions, 15 participants and 2-3 professional advisors.
Each community is managed by a couple of coordinators—professional social workers or psychologists, who oversee the personal and collective processes in the community.
The participants are people who found themselves struggling with hardships and difficulties, with which they find it difficult to cope by themselves, and who wish to receive our help. For the most part, the participants come from lower socio-economic status, or middle-class people who found themselves struggling. There are many different kinds of participants facing different kinds of hardships and difficulties.
These are volunteers who personally accompany the participants and take part in communal activities. The companions receive thorough ongoing training, and are themselves accompanied by the movement. The companions construct work-plans together with the participants; they oversee the implementation of the plans, and accompany the participants throughout this process both physically and mentally.
These are professional and expert volunteers—lawyers, social workers, rights experts, accountants, etc. They offer ongoing support in their domain of expertise, both in assessing the situation, and in building professional and effective work-plans.
Social workers and psychologists who lead both the personal and communal processes.