Marriage and birth of Yossi

Kalman was born in Vancouver, Canada and came to Israel as a college student in the early 1970’s where he has been living with his family ever since. Kalman and his wife Malki’s son, Yossi was injured during infancy and became blind, deaf, and acutely hyperactive. In response to Yossi’s remarkable breakthrough to communication, the Samuels’ founded Shalva in 1990 to provide care and support to individuals with disabilities and their families. Since the organization’s inception, Kalman has played a leading role in ensuring Shalva’s sustainability and growth. Today he serves as the President of Shalva and is closely involved in the organization’s ongoing operations. He has received many awards for his contribution to Israeli society; most recently, an Honorary Doctorate from Bar-Ilan University and the Yakir Yerushalayim Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem award. Kalman’s memoir, Dreams Never Dreamed, has been published in Hebrew, English and Japanese.

Founding and expansion of Shalva

Due to their experiences raising Yossi, Malki and Kalman established an afternoon playgroup for children with special needs. Over time, the program expanded to meet the needs of a broader spectrum of special needs, from birth through adulthood. Today Shalva provides therapy, education, and recreation to hundreds of beneficiaries as well as family support, respite and advocacy initiatives. In recognition of Shalva’s accomplishments and an ongoing need to expand the availability of special needs services, the Jerusalem Municipality provided Samuels a seven acre plot adjacent to the planned Route 16 highway and the Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in the Beit HaKerem neighborhood of Jerusalem. The new Shalva National Center enables Shalva to provide a broader range of services to an expanded population of beneficiaries.

Kalman’s memoir, Dreams Never Dreamed, was released in Hebrew in September 2019 and in English in May 2020.

To purchase a copy, please visit All proceeds are directed to Shalva.

Prizes and acknowledgments

1994 – President of Israel Prize for Excellence
1999 – Mayor of Jerusalem’s Award for Exceptional Service
2004 – Shalem Foundation Award as “Israel’s Most Unique Program for the Mentally Challenged”
2005 – Knesset Speaker’s Quality of Life Prize for Leadership & Public Excellence
2006 – The Jerusalem Foundation Teddy Kollek Prize
2007 – Aminadav National Service Award for Excellence
2009 – Jerusalem’s Award of Distinction for National Service Volunteers
2010 – SHALEM Foundation Award
2012 – The Ministry of Education Outstanding Volunteer Award
2018 – Nefesh b’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize
2018 – Lions International, Israel’s Man of the Year Award
2019 – Bar Ilan University, Honorary Doctor of Philosophy
2019 – Ruppin Academy Esteemed Fellowship Award
2019 – Jerusalem Prize for Dedication on Behalf of People with Disabilities
2020 – Yakir Yerushlayaim Honored Citizen of Jerusalem Award