Jerusalem—On Wednesday, May 10, a group of 60 students, alumni and faculty from the Yeshiva of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School visited ALEH’s Jerusalem facility as part of their “Chessed Mission to Israel,” a biannual goodwill initiative led by the high school’s dean of students, Rabbi Naftali Besser. In addition to attending an orientation about disability inclusion and the crucial work done at ALEH (www.ALEH.org), Israel’s foremost network of state-of-the-art facilities for children with severe complex disabilities, the mission participants brightened the day of the ALEH residents by embracing them like members of their own families and engaging them in sensory enhancement games.
Feeling very much at home, the Yeshiva of Flatbush students took control of a music appreciation session that was already in progress, helping the students bang on drums of varied sizes to make music and feel the vibrations. Wide eyes and infectious smiles followed.
“ALEH’s goal is to give every individual with complex disabilities in Israel the opportunity to reach their fullest potentials. We work hard to change the way people view those with disabilities, so that they are embraced and included, instead of shunned or forgotten,” said Shlomit Grayevsky, Director of ALEH Jerusalem.
“We look forward to visits from the Yeshiva of Flatbush because we know that the warmth and excitement exuded by their students and faculty doesn’t simply buoy the spirits of our amazing kids for a matter of hours, but leaves an indelible mark on their lives, as they feel like part of a global Jewish family that genuinely cares about them. Disability inclusion is not a difficult task—all it takes is the love and attention of individuals who truly care, like the exceptional groups from the Yeshiva of Flatbush that visit us several times every year.”
After assisting with some parachute games that also delighted the ALEH residents, the Yeshiva of Flatbush students presented ALEH with beautiful gifts, a longstanding tradition that is greatly appreciated by the hardworking ALEH staff and further cements the bond between the two organizations.
Following the recruitment of an impressive “ALEH Ascend” team for the Jerusalem Marathon in March, ALEH Jerusalem continues to celebrate its 20th anniversary in style. Under the theme “The Unification of All People in Jerusalem,” a nod to the 50th anniversary of the historic reunification of Jerusalem, ALEH will be organizing and hosting several events to celebrate its impact on the acceptance and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in Israel’s capital over the last two decades.
Events will include the seventh annual “ALEH Marches Forward” event on the Jerusalem Chords Bridge, a powerful and symbolic display to encourage “bridging” the inclusion gap for individuals with disabilities in Israeli society; the inauguration of the new state-of-the-art rehabilitation floor at ALEH’s Jerusalem facility; and a gala dinner to mark the anniversary and honor the memory of Rivka Chervin-Weinberger, founder and longtime chair of the ALEH Jerusalem Ladies Committee.
ALEH provides over 700 children from around Israel with high-level medical and rehabilitative care in four residential facilities. ALEH is their home and their family—24 hours a day, 365 days a year. ALEH’s goal is to enable each child, regardless of the severity of the disability, to realize his or her fullest potential and live a high-quality and fulfilling life. Over the last 34 years, ALEH has become a global community based on the principles of sensitivity, commitment and kindness, making a difference in the lives of Israel’s most vulnerable children and building a better, more caring world.