Sfat Halev

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Sfat Halev is an Israeli non-profit organization established in 2014 that aims to raise awareness about cleft lip and palate, while providing technical and emotional support and assistance to families with children born with clefts. The organization’s services are mainly operated by volunteers – parents of children born with clefts who wish to pass on their knowledge and experience and provide support to additional families. The organization also distributes kits with special feeding gear to cleft-affected babies, enlists our professional team of volunteer doctors to speak at conferences to educate medical personnel, and more.

During its first years of operation it became increasingly apparent that the organization addresses an important and previously unaddressed need in Israeli society, as it is only organization in Israel providing support, assistance, and information in Hebrew to families with cleft-effected children. In 2017 alone, we provided assistance and support to over 1280 families, while the number of families who contact the organization’s call center increases each month.

Through the various programs and services of Sfat Halev, we empower parents by providing extensive information and educational resources regarding cleft lip and palate and treatment options at the various stages of life. Information is provided through our website and the distribution of informational booklets.


The Prenatal Program supports parents-to-be who discover during pregnancy that their child will be born with a cleft, through support groups and educational materials.

Distributing special kits containing special feeding gear, accessories, and an educational resource guide to new mothers of babies born with a cleft lip and/or palate.

Distributing special kits to families prior to each surgery containing necessary gear to assist the child during the post-surgery recuperation period.

Professional children’s photographers capture the beautiful newborns and provide the parents the ability to bond and experience the moments as with any other child.

Periodic retreats for mothers to provide them with opportunities to form support groups, share experiences, and benefit from educational lectures and joint fun activities.

For babies who are born with severe clefts that are not cared for in Israel, Sfat Halev coordinates and sponsors the travel to and surgery in the US or Europe.

Researching data from families with multiple occurrences to better identify genetic factors in cleft lip/palate, in collaboration with Meir Medical Center and Bnei Zion Hospital in Haifa.

A number of support groups, on/off line, supporting parents confronting the various challenges they face throughout the process of dealing with a cleft lip/palate child.

Organizing conferences throughout the country to educate parents of cleft lip/palate children on various aspects of dealing with the anomalies, medically and psychologically.

Initiating and organizing conferences throughout the country to educate various professionals who come in contact with children with clefts, with the goal of providing them with relevant information and enabling them to most effectively treat the children.


Cleft lip and palate is one of the most common birth anomalies, affecting approximately 1 in 700 births in Israel. A cleft is formed early on in pregnancy when the tissues forming the upper lip and/or palate fail to join together. A cleft lip is a resulting gap between the two sides of the upper lip, which can also extend to the base of the nose, whereas a cleft palate is a resulting gap in the upper gum and/or jaw. A baby can be born with both a cleft lip and palate or one or the other.

While a cleft lip is mostly a cosmetic issue, a cleft palate often results in certain feeding and speech difficulties, as well as frequent ear infections or hearing problems, depending on the size and location of the cleft. Clefts are strictly physical defects and are surgically corrected in infancy, while additional surgeries, speech therapy, and orthodontic work are also required for many children throughout their childhood and teenage years. When proper treatment is given, cleft-affected children are able to live regular normal lives.

Having a child with a cleft lip/palate presents families with various technical and emotional challenges. Parents experience fear and concern about the reactions of others to their child’s appearance, while also trying to learn as much as possible about their child’s condition and treatment options. Guidance and support to families – particularly during the child’s first years of life – are essential in helping reduce fears and obtaining necessary professional assistance.