Sunday, December 13, 2015

‘Race, religion and background didn’t seem to matter’

The following story from a Canadian volunteer shows the true face of Israel that is hardly ever reported in the national media.

"This spring, I returned to Israel and joined a six-week Ulpan program at Ben Gurion University to learn Hebrew. I ended up extending my Israel experience into the summer by tacking on another short stint with Sar-El followed by three months at ALEH Negev, the crown jewel of Israel’s largest network of facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities. At ALEH, I utilized physical therapy techniques to advance the children I worked with toward independent mobility, a very rewarding task.
Shoshanna Kervin
From my very first tour of the therapeutic village, I was struck by the unparalleled diversity represented within the groups of ALEH’s residents and staff members. I observed Jews, Christians, Muslims, Bedouins, and individuals of virtually every nationality working, learning, and healing together. Race, religion and background just didn’t seem to matter.
This spirit of inclusion and acceptance shapes the philosophy by which patient care is developed and provided. Rather than attempting to shoehorn every child into a one-size-fits-all rehabilitation program, ALEH tailors the programming to each patient’s unique needs and abilities, creating individualized experiences that allows each child to develop to his or her fullest potentials.
Thankfully, this philosophy spills over to volunteers as well. The paramedical staff, who accepted me with open arms, guided me through my internship and provided me with an exciting and enriching professional environment in which I was able to utilize my preexisting skill set to treat residents. But my eye-opening summer internship was more than just an opportunity to gain valuable work experience: it was the first time that I was able to embrace my two greatest passions and become the best version of myself.
Now that I know so much more about Israel’s long-standing tradition of kindness and its capacity for acceptance of individuals of all religions, races, nationalities, and abilities (and have witnessed this acceptance firsthand), my two passions don’t seem so disparate after all. In fact, it makes perfect sense that my true identity was forged in southern Israel.
Surrounded by angels in the Promised Land, I learned the true meaning of inclusion, altruism and humanity."

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