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The sages said “God gave ten portions of beauty to the earth, and nine of them He gave to Jerusalem.” And yet, there are 1100 children who live in Jerusalem who have never seen its beauty at all, because they are blind. 500 of Jerusalem’s children will never hear the Shofar blow on Rosh Hashana, the Mezunim calling them to prayer, or the sound of their mother’s voice singing them to sleep, because they are hard of hearing. Another 4000 beautiful children will face an uphill battle in life because of some kind of mental or physical handicap.

The Children of Israel Foundation has undertaken a major project to help these unfortunate children obtain a brighter future. In conjunction with The Municipality of Jerusalem, and several organizations within the City, we aim to maximize the potential of these disabled youth and provide facilities where they can be taught and loved by some of Israel’s most skilled and dedicated teachers.

The programs being operated are fully integrated and are available to all residents of Jerusalem, regardless of race or religion. They are aimed at keeping the children in the community and helping them become as self-sufficient as possible. It is a bright spot in a tormented country- it is within these programs that a chance for peace and understanding will hopefully blossom, as these children, Arab and Jew alike, are taught and loved together.

These programs come with a price. At Micha, a wonderful facility for the hearing impaired, 20 Arab and 20 Jewish children are given wonderful care and taught skills to help them live a normal life. But there are many more who cannot attend because of lack of funding. A cochlear implant for a deaf child costs $25,000 US. The cords and special batteries to make the implants work cost $90, and must be replaced every three months. A mobile hearing unit would bring new-found hope to many, especially those living in East Jerusalem, but such a unit would cost $250,000. Kindergarten is only held three mornings a week because of lack of funding.

There are similar excellent programs in Jerusalem for the blind, and for the physically and mentally handicapped. There are sheltered workshops to teach skills to let them be productive; art, film, and photography classes; sporting activities like karate, tennis, swimming, and horse back riding. But the story is the same. There is not enough money to offer these children the kinds of programs to make them as independent as possible. Or enough money to let all that need to be involved, become involved. Programs and skills that let them find joy and pride in what they do, programs that enable them to be productive and find a place in the community. Programs that let them become…normal.

A handicapped child can be a joy and a blessing, but presents challenges too. The greatest joy and blessing in life is a healthy child. One of life’s biggest challenges is a child with a handicap. The parents of Jerusalem, Arab and Jew alike, carry on with amazing courage and determination to help their special children become the best they can be, often against incredible odds. You can help make life brighter for them. Your contribution brings more teachers, more high-tech equipment, more opportunities to more children to grow and develop, to learn, to become independent. To be normal.
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The Children of Israel Foundation Inc.
PO Box 988
Cardston, AB T0K 0K0
Canada
Phone: (403) 653-3276
Fax: (403) 653-1098
Email: info@children-of-israel.org

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