As Israel celebrated 69 years and Jerusalem 50 years of unification, Shalva celebrated its Grand Opening.

History was made last week when hundreds of friends and donors traveled from around the world to gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the much anticipated grand opening of the new Shalva National Center; a home of love, a home of hope and a home of human dignity.

The center opens its doors to a promising future for thousands of children with disabilities and their families in Israel and around the world. Inside, children discover their abilities and achieve their dreams, families find hope and belonging. Israel is pioneering new advancements in disability care, and society is inspired to create a better, more inclusive world.

The day-long event began with festive dedications of the National Park for Inclusion in memory of Ambassador Roland E. Arnall and the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Family Center as well as an auspicious ribbon cutting ceremony. The dedications were followed by a program in the Recanati-Kaplan Auditorium which included a series of addresses by keynote speakers, moving videos, and musical performances by the Shalva Band. Some of the program’s speakers were Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem; Chaim Katz, Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services; Kalman Samuels, Founder and President of Shalva; and Ori Sasson, Israeli Olympics judo medalist; among other dignitaries.

All of the attending guests participated in tours of the magnificent building and its facilities, spoke with Shalva’s parents and children, and enjoyed a beautiful lunch prepared by the Manette and Louis Mayberg Café Shalva. During the evening, guests were invited to a celebratory gala dinner catered by world renowned chef Paul Assenheim, which began at the Nicole and Raanan Agus Scenic Rooftop Terrace and Playground and continued in the Betzalel Binyamin Dining and Events Hall.

The Grand Opening Celebration was meaningful and inspirational for all who attended.