The way it all began…
Summer 1879/ 5639, Jerusalem
Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, who had immigrated to Israel only two years before, fell ill with pneumonia.

"and he would go every day to draw fresh air between the trees in the forest outside the city…and every day he would look…and see children clinging to trash heaps, tossed amid horse dung, half naked and barefoot, and he would ask, "who are these children?" And he was told that these were orphans who had lost their fathers and mothers, and poverty had deprived them of a home…" (from the impressions of his close disciple, Rav Yaakov Orenstien)

From that day onward, they had a home. The home of Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin became their home. He didn't build a home for them; he simply opened the door to his own home and welcomed them all in. Together with his wife, he turned his home into a virtual orphanage.
The abandoned orphans now had a warm home. But who would build their futures?
Chanukah 5641/ November 1880
Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin set up a vocational school that would prepare 'his orphans' for life. There, they received professional training in a variety of fields that were in high demand in those days.

An entire generation of orphans was liberated from the cycle of deprivation.
The house becomes too small for the giant heart…
11 Shevat, 5641/ January 11, 1881
54 orphans joined Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin's home in the mere course of a year and a half! The Diskins hearts expanded as wide as a giant hall, ready to embrace as many children as needed a home. For themselves, they were willing to forego anything, yet the children were desperate for more spacious provisions.

In Jan 1881 the first building was rented for the purpose of housing the precious orphans. The Diskin Home was founded, a home for those who had none of their own.

And a home it was, in every sense of the word; it provided hot meals and a warm bed, plentiful books and a large courtyard to play in, a home in which to live and thrive.
The light is extinguished
and promise dawns…
29 Teves, 5658/ January 23, 1898
Erev Rosh Chodesh Shevat. The great luminary and leader, father and heart of all orphans, passed away. The hills of Jerusalem turned black with masses of humanity, all converging to accompany their leader on his final journey.

Yet, amid the heavy mourning, there shone a beam of light. From mouth to mouth, RavDiskin's parting promise spread through the mourners, shedding light and encouragement throughout the crowd. There was a way to remain bound to their beloved leader. For Rav Diskin had promised: "Whoever supports the home that I founded, I will personally advocate on his behalf before Hashem, in this world and in the next."

The promise, and the merit of this great father of all orphans, stands forever.
Who will save the orphanage?
Elul 5668/ September 1908
A decade elapsed from the passing of the venerated Maharil (an acronym for Moreinu Harav Yehoshua Leib) Diskin and The Diskin Home faced mounting financial challenges that threatened its very existence. The Maharil's son, Rabbi Yitzchak Yerucham Diskin emigrated to the Holy Land in order to rescue the orphanage. Immediately upon his arrival, he set to the task of strengthening and fortifying his father's life's mission, which he very soon adopted as his own: the mission of granting new life to orphaned children.

At the same time, his wife personally adopted individual orphaned girls who, for whatever reasons, could not adjust to life in an orphanage. She gathered them into her home, and with warmth and motherly love, raised them as her own until her dying day.
Far reaching vision…
17 Elul, 5681/ September 20, 1912
The Diskin Orphanage's Groundbreaking Ceremony

Rabbi Yitzchak Yerucham, only son of Rav Yehoshua Leib, wished to establish a permanent dwelling for the orphans. He acquired property far away from the Old City, with one purpose: to grant his orphans optimal living conditions. There, on a faraway hill, he found the sprawling grounds he was looking for, with clear, healing air.

The distance did not deter him. Rabbi Yitzchak Yerucham was a man of vision, who foresaw the future growth and expansion of Jerusalem. And indeed, the entrance to Jerusalem is now marked by the cornerstone of this beautiful building that has turned into one of the symbolic sites of the city.
Our feet stood at your gates…
Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5687/ April 3, 1927
The new building Diskin Orphanage

An emotional procession marched through the streets of Jerusalem: community leaders carrying Torah scrolls in their arms, followed by the children of the orphanage, festively dressed for the occasion and marching proudly in impeccable formation.

A crowd of excited spectators followed them to the magnificent new edifice whose construction had recently been completed outside the city's walls. The great leaders of Jerusalem spoke, emotionally bemoaning the loss of Rabbi Yitzchak Yerucham and his pious wife, who had toiled so tirelessly for the construction of this building and didn't live to see their dream come to fruition.

On 5 Nissan, the tender orphans visit their father's grave. No, not their biological father - the father who cared for them with devotion all the years and built them a home of their own.

They visit the grave of Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, who lifted bedraggled orphans out of the dust and gathered them into his own arms, worrying for their welfare. They then proceed to the grave of his son, Rabbi Yitzchak Yerucham, to thank him for continuing his father's legacy and building them a spacious new home.

And they entreat for all those who continue the holy mission, expending time and energy and endless funds to bring light into their lives.
Diskin Today
Nissan 5743/ March 1983
The founding of The Diskin Orphan Fund

For over a hundred years, The Diskin Home stood proudly, housing and nurturing scores of abandoned orphans and homeless children within its walls.

However, as modernization reshaped the face of society, circumstances gradually changed and the needs of the population shifted. Their suffering, once blatantly displayed in the streets, now screamed silently from behind closed doors. It was time for a reform.

Recognizing that children were best off in their natural environment, raised by their surviving parent among their own siblings and peers, The Diskin Home underwent a metamorphosis, becoming The Diskin Orphan Fund.

The fund, lovingly dubbed 'Diskin', provides a framework for the emotional, physical and financial support of families who have lost a parent.

With unbelievable devotion and sensitivity, 'Diskin' employs every means to assist families who have lost a parent. Their goal is to remove the label from these families, so that they can go on with their lives despite the pain of their loss. Diskin enables them not only to survive, but to thrive, in the warm security of their own homes without feeling deprived or disadvantaged.

Orphans need their own home. They need their own bed and their own blanket, their own toys and books, their own private corner.

Orphans need the love and support of their parent and siblings. They need to be able to share their personal tears and jokes, their pictures and memories, with their own close family.

They need the familiarity of their own school, the company of their own peers, the security of their own teachers. They need to be able to grow and flourish like every child their age.

What happens, however, when their own world collapses? Who is there to pick up the pieces of their home and hold the walls together, so it can be rebuilt, piece by piece, by the surviving parent? Who is there to strengthen the foundation so that they will have a sturdy floor on which to stand, to grow, and to smile?

Diskin is there for all of that and more.

They are there to give each and every orphan the gift of home.

So that no matter what the past holds, they can look ahead to a bright future.

With love, with joy, with dignity.