The Association of Municipal Corporations (איגוד תאגידים העירוניים ברשויות המקומיות) met for a the three-day annual conference, culminating with a gala evening attended by seven hundred key political figures, major businessmen, mayors and city councilmen from around the country. The Shalva Band together with Eyal Golan put on a dazzling performance that concluded with a thunderous standing ovation that continued for several minutes. This performance reflects a growing cultural awareness of inclusive ideals that will create a better future for individuals with disabilities and for Israeli society as a whole.

The Association’s chairman, Yitzchak Burba, emceed the evening and welcomed his personally invited guests – the Shalva Band – to the stage alongside Israeli megastar Eyal Golan.

Shalva, the Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel, provides quality care for individuals with disabilities while empowering their families, and promoting social inclusion. Founded in 1990, Shalva’s ongoing programs are non-denominational and free of charge, providing a range of programming for hundreds of children with disabilities and their families. The organization’s advocacy initiatives, community events, and disability research continue to inspire a more inclusive Israeli society.

The Shalva Band is one of the organization’s most celebrated inclusion programs. The band performs by invitation at cultural venues and dignitary events several times a week, inspiring crowds with their impressive repertoire and signature charm. With their growing recognition in Israel and abroad, this year the band released their first album – a landmark accomplishment for young adults with disabilities. All members of the band started off at Shalva’s After School Activity Center and have cultivated a love for music through years of dedicated music therapy. Today, they study, work and volunteer in the broader community.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, however the event was particularly moving for the bands lead singer, Dina Samteh. Dina made Aliyah to Israel from India, and at the time didn’t speak any Hebrew. During her Aliyah process she was given a package of materials to help smooth her transition. Inside was a cd by Eyal Golan. Today, Dina speaks a fluent, unaccented Hebrew attributes her mastery language to repeatedly listening to Eyal’s music. Joining Eyal Golan on the stage was a realization of a dream for Dina who was visibly moved by the experience.

A show for an audience such as the Association of Municipal Corporations is the kind of event that sends waves. The impression left on these leading figures creates a trickle-down effect that contributes to Shalva’s tireless efforts to create a warmer, more inclusive Israel.