Excitement is building as more and more participants are signing up to join Team SHALVA in the forthcoming Jerusalem Marathon which will be taking place on March 18, 2016.
Special recognition should be given to Binyamin Brickman and Shai Adler (presently a lone soldier in Israel) who have run with Team SHALVA for four years. It was through the participation of Kushner that they learned about the organization, and now RKYHS will be bringing close to a dozen students as part of its 2016 delegation.
There will also be students running from Ma’ayanot, accompanied by Sara Gordon, and Frisch students who will be accompanied by Rabbi Eli Ciner. Reuven Penn and Daniel Rosenberg, MTA students, will be the co-captains of the team from MTA. Notably there will be a team from Maimonides in Boston in memory of Ezra Schwartz, Bnei Akiva School of Toronto, Central High School for Girls, HANC, HAFTR, GW Hillel, Mach Hach and London Lads (Hasmonean School U.K.). Others will be running in honor of their bar or bat mitzvahs. Upon reaching their fundraising goal, participants will be showered with free airfare to Israel, three-night hotel accommodations, meals and much more complimentary amenities.
SHALVA, the Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children, has been serving the Israeli community for the past 25 years. It offers high-quality care for individuals with disabilities, is non-denominational and free of charge. It began, as many such organizations do, by the Samuel family who originate from Vancouver, Canada. Their son Yossi was left blind, deaf and acutely hyperactive as a result of a faulty vaccination. Exhausted from the care which Yossi required yet determined to keep him at home, the family vowed that if Hashem would help them they would help other such families and children with special needs. Through special intervention with outstanding individuals, Yossi began at the age of eight to begin the slow process of communication. In 1990 the organization was founded.
Today, SHALVA provides services to more than 500 participants, free of charge, seven days a week. The SHALVA National Center will be opening in 2016 which will enable them to increase their programs on a national scale with a 400 percent increase of beneficiaries.
Reporting on this wonderful organization I am in every way able to relate to the families of children who are told by physicians that they should not bother with their children but to place them in institutions as babies. That advice was given to us about our daughter Naama and was, in fact, exactly the same advice given to Kalman and Malki Samuels. All of us were determined to keep our children at home, and the Samuels went the extra many thousands of miles by establishing SHALVA.
More importantly, they will be showing the world that nothing will stop us from supporting Israel. Only our community is able to offer services as special as SHALVA.
Our Israeli family is excited to see everyone participating in the marathon. Join with SHALVA. For further information, please look at www.run4shalva.org.
By Nina Glick