The department of recreation and leisure of the Jerusalem municipality has a division for people with special needs, whose goal is promote inclusion of people with special needs into society by way of recreational and cultural activities.  As part of this program, every spring, Jerusalem has the Festival Tzamid, in which there are all sorts of performances and shows in all the arts which are created by and/or star people with special needs.  These events take place all over the city, in major cultural venues as well as in local community centers, and incorporate all members of Israeli society. As is the case with the Shalva Band, the festival serves to show off the talents and abilities of these children and young adults, notwithstanding their disabilities.

This year, our very own Raphael Cohen received an award of recognition from Mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion.  The award is given to those who, despite their disabilities, work to help other individuals with disabilities develop their abilities and reach the highest possible level of inclusion in society.  Raphael works as a tour guide at Shalva, assists in the public relations department and moderates at conferences.

Raphael, congratulations! So well deserved!! You are a true example of believing that everyone can contribute and we salute you.