On Saturday night December 16, 2017, Hapoel ‘Bank Yahav’ Jerusalem Basketball Club continued its annual tradition of hosting the Shalva Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team at its game at the Payis Arena. The exciting game was decided in the last few seconds, when Hapoel Jerusalem beat Hapoel Holon 88:86.
Before the game began, the Hapoel Jerusalem players were introduced, accompanied by players from the Shalva team. The lighting of Chanukah candles followed, in the presence of Mayor Nir Barkat, Kalman Samuels, Founder and President of Shalva, Avi Samuels, Chairman of Shalva, Olympic medalist Ori Sasson, other VIP’s, and Shalva’s children. Tal Kima, a graduate of Shalva and a member of the Shalva Band which recently returned from a worldwide tour, recited the blessings. Anael Kalifa, a blind soloist of the band moved the crowd with her rendition of Maoz Tsur, followed by Hatikvah.
During the half-time break, the Shalva team had a joint activity with the youth league of Hapoel Bank Yahav, who gave the Shalva children presents. They also gave presents to Yosef Haim, who is celebrating his Bar Mitzvah. Yosef Haim has a mild disability and participates in the program at the Shalva National Center in Jerusalem.
The Shalva Basketball Team is part of a fifteen year partnership with the Hapoel ‘Bank Yahav’ Jerusalem league, and its players have weekly practices and compete against other groups in the youth league. The team is made up of boys and girls with a variety of disabilities, who meet for regular weekly practices under the tutelage of a coach from Hapoel Jerusalem, and who compete against other groups, wearing the official Hapoel uniform. The basketball practices help the players develop both physical skills such as coordination and fitness, and social skills, which are critical to team building, both on the court and off.
Photo credit: Shlomi Amsalem