JDC-Israel Team Swaps Expertise on Serving the Disabled
Our hats off to the JDC delegation of Israeli experts and government officials serving the disabled who visited New York City and Boston last week to meet with their American counterparts and tour local facilities and programs. The visit was an outreach effort of Israel Unlimited, a pioneering partnership of JDC, the Ruderman Family Foundation, and the Government of Israel to meet the needs of Israel’s 700,000 disabled adults and improve their ability to live independently and integrate into Israeli society.
The delegation, whose visit was a tag-team coordination effort of UJA-Federation of New York and CJP (Combined Jewish Philanthropies) of Boston, was led by Jay Ruderman, a top advocate on special needs in the Jewish community and Israel, and Dr. Shlomo Elyashar, director of the rehabilitation division in Israel’s Ministry of Social Affairs.
During a site visit at the Center for Independence of the Disabled (CID) in NY, Yoav Kraiem from the Campaign for Disabled Persons in Israel was intrigued to learn that the US the government sometimes turns to specializing organizations like CID for input on policy. “When I return to Israel my goal will be to bring this idea to our government, to convince them that those working with the disabled should not only have a seat at the table but bring valuable insight that should affect policy-making.”
We hope the lessons learned from this exchange visit will only further the growth and impact of Israel Unlimited, which has had impressive success to date.
In its first year, Israel Unlimited developed new programs for 10,000 Israeli disabled adults. Since then, four new Centers for Independent Living—community based multi-service centers run by the disabled with services for the disabled—have been established and now serve an additional 6,000 disabled Israelis. Plus new services and training will now be available to more than 1,000 Israeli parents with disabilities and 2,000 immigrants with disabilities.
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