The Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP), established to reawaken 4,000 years of passion and commitment, selected Thursday afternoon, July 28, to visit SHALVA. And while all visits are special, this one will be remembered for years to come.
Nearly 50 women from several North American cities arrived en masse, wearing bright smiles and comfortable clothing. After listening to an overview of SHALVA’s history, mission, and current status, they enjoyed a lively visit with Yossi Samuels, the inspiration behind the creation of SHALVA. Yossi – who is blind and deaf since the age of eleven months – chatted with his guests, sharing thoughts about politics, automotive design, and the status of wine-production in Israel. Anyone who knows Yossi readily understands that these are his favorite topics and he keeps up to date on all relevant happenings in the respective fields.
Next it was time to begin an exciting project with the children from SHALVA’s Afternoon Activity Program. The youngsters were sitting in the dining hall, wearing plastic aprons. They were seating with an empty seat between them, ready to greet the women from JWRP. The ladies all grabbed seats and waiting excitedly as they perused the bowls that had been laid out along the individual tables. Indeed, the tables were heaped with bowls of chocolate frosting, vanilla frosting, jelly beans, banana-shaped candies, heart-shaped jellies, and chocolate chips. Plastic knives were scattered about, and the excitement was palpable.
Staff members passed-out trays of oversized chocolate and chocolate chip cupcakes and the “Decorating Contest” was on. Originally programmed to be a 20-30 minute activity, the women and children bonded immediately and, as the pictures will attest, the laughter and excitement was contagious. No one wanted to stop and after almost an hour, the sticky participants were forced to quit by the reality of time-constraints! The gals from JWRP were scheduled to travel to Tel Aviv for their supper and SHALVA’s children had to prepare for – gulp! – dinner! Despite lots of collective groaning about ‘never eating again’, everyone agreed that as far as summer fun goes, this activity was perfectly suitable for kids of all ages!