About HaGal Sheli

Meet Omer and Yaron, two friends for the past twelve years.

We are Omer and Yaron,

Two friends who met 12 years ago as undergraduate students studying education. We had an immediate connection and quickly became best friends. Between studies and surfing, we came up with an idea to combine our passions – educating at-risk youth and surfing.

We began with 10 boys and girls we voluntarily instructed for a year. We made a deal with the group; we will teach you to surf under one condition: that you go back to school.

At the end of the year, all 10 teens returned to school. Their self-esteem soared, and we did not doubt that we were on to something. We noticed the tremendous impact and wanted to expand the program to help more boys and girls in Israel.

We quit our jobs, took out loans, bought surfing equipment and insurance, and founded “HaGal Sheli.”

Today, we operate educational surf centers across Israel, educating hundreds of groups and thousands of at-risk youth annually.

In the aftermath of the heinous Hamas attacks on October 7th, the urgent need for support in helping Israeli teenagers and young adults confront the profound trauma was undeniable.

In the immediate aftermath of the October 7th events, HaGal Sheli initiated an emergency plan to assist Israeli youth in navigating their complex emotions and experiences using surfing. Their goal is to swiftly reach as many affected teens as possible to offer aid, aiming to mitigate the development of PTSD.

For over a decade, HaGal Sheli has empowered youth nationwide to conquer life’s challenges by harnessing the transformative power of surfing, fostering personal growth, resilience, & success.

“Tools from the Waves” was created as an adapted version of HaGal Sheli’s PTSD program, operated in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Defense Rehabilitation Department, providing immediate assistance to Israeli youth from Israel’s southern Gaza Settlement communities. Under the guidance of Dr. Tamar Dagan, a clinical psychologist and trauma specialist, the program is a response to the complex traumas inflicted by the attacks and is dedicated to providing immediate assistance to those affected.

The Jewish Federation of Detroit has been a proud supporter of HaGal Sheli for several years. Many of our missions have visited their facilities and some participants have even tried surfing. HaGal Sheli was also given a grant from Federation’s Israel Emergency Fund for its work with teen survivors of October 7th.

You Matter.

The help we provide to the Jewish community in Detroit, in Israel and around the world is not possible without your support. Choose your level of impact…