Ambassador Nikki Haley meets with Special in Uniform
During her recent visit to Israel, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, met with Special in Uniform. Ambassador Haley loved the idea of the U.S. military following Special in Uniform's model of military inclusion for people with special needs and disabilities.We have now another good friend in USA!
!Mazal Tov to Lihi Lapid
Congratulations to Lihi Lapid, Israeli author,newspaper columnist and dedicated leader for Special in Uniform. Ms. Lapid, received the Tzamid Festival Award from the Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat, for her work in creating awareness and inclusion for people with disabilities. The Tzamid Festival promotes artists with disabilities.
After Lihi’s moving remarks, the festival organizers replied to her:
"Dear Lihi, when you present your thank-you speech tonight at the Tzamid Festival, there is not one single mother left untouched by your words. Wisely and sensitively, you are giving strength to thousands of special families and your motherly words mean so much, planting hope in all of us It was an honor to present you the award!”
Welcome New Unit
The new soldiers participated in a traditional beret induction ceremony, this was a very emotional and proud moment for the soldiers and their families. The new soldiers of JNF's Special in Uniform Unit, marched together before being sworn into the IDF, at the Nachshonim Military base for armored corps . The ceremony was heavily attended by IDF commanders, parents and family members. Emotions ran high and there was hardly a dry eye in the audience as the soldiers, who have been integrated alongside their peers, took turns ascending to the stage and receiving their pin and volunteer certificate. Mazal Tov!.
Good News for those Soldiers with Hearing Impairments
JNF Century Council partners, Burt and Rita Tansky arrived to Ramat David Air Force base, a new home for Special in Uniform soldiers in the north of Israel.
Together with JNF leaders they announced the new program they are sponsoring to include soldiers with hearing impairments.
New Unit in the North
We are thrilled to announce another special unit in Northern Israel. This is a unique unit which includes volunteer and soldiers that are mostly Druze, from Maghar, located in the Lower Galilee.In Maghar the majority (57.9%) of residents are Druze, Arab Christians (21%) and Muslim (21.1%), who are all considered minorities in Israel.
They will serve on the Michve Alon base, an IDF military base located near Safed. The new soldiers will be part of the logistics team on the base. Many of the Commanders of the base are Druze, helping us to make the process much smoother.
Special day on the Hatzerim Israeli Air Force Base
Hatzerim Air Force Base hosted a special beret ceremony for 12 soldiers with disabilities as part of Special in Uniform program, generously sponsored by Dick Berman from San Francisco. The ceremony was heavily attended by IDF commanders. The soldiers and their family members shared much pride and joy as the newly inducted soldiers received their berets!
Post Service Employment Program
We are thrilled to welcome Shani Ofer, our Employment Program Manager! Ms. Ofer will help us promote employment after IDF service. Additionally, she will continue our dialogue with the business community in Israel to promote the case to hire people with disabilities.
It’s all about abilities NOT disabilities!
Atlanta Jewish Community
JNF and Chabad in Atlanta hosted Lt. Col. Tiran Attia and Daniel Defur, the sight impaired IDF soldier, to introduce Special in Uniform to the community. A special thank you to Roni and Alan Wolk and Rabbi Ephraim Silverman of Chabad Lubavitch of Cobb, GA for the hospitality.
New Jersey Jewish Community
We are so grateful to the most incredible friends and champions for the State of Israel and special needs Stephanie & Philip Brodie who hosted a special brunch at their Long Branc, NJ home. We are grateful to our most generous and caring supporters who go the extra mile to stay in touch and be true stakeholders in what we’re doing every day!
Never give up
It’s probably one of the most cliché phrases people hear as they are building their career. But for Sapir it is not a cliché.
In 12th grade, when her friends all received their orders to enlist, she decided that despite her Autism, she wanted to enlist too, when she first appealed to the enlistment office, she was immediately informed that her condition would prevent her from serving. Sapir eventually learned of the Special in Uniform program and asked join the unit. She complete her 3 years service in the air force and joint a special employment program with partnership of Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya is a College in Herzliya. We are so proud of Sapir.
JNFuture Ultimate Israel Experience Mission had the privilege to visit with JNF’s Special in Uniform at the IDF Home Front Command Base.
Sara Armet, JNFuture New York Board Member said “This Jewish National Fundpartner creates a culture of inclusivity in the IDF for people with disabilities and special needs. These soldiers brighten up my day so much!”
Welcome Birthright Israel Foundation's Board of Directors
Birthright Israel Foundation's Board of Directors is composed of diverse and talented individuals from across the country who are dedicated to building a bright Jewish future. The Directors guide the organization and support the mission through fundraising, working closely with the partners in Israel, and serving as ambassadors of the life-changing power of the Birthright Israel experience.
They had the privilege to visit Special in Uniform, they were impressed to see the activity and showed their interest to collaborate with us.
Welcome AIPAC mission
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States.
We are partnering by showcasing the best of Israel’s social innovation. We are also working to bring Special in Uniform to the US, together we are strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Soldier of the Month
Michael was born in Canada, when he was 3 years old, his parents became aware that their son was “different” than other kids his age: after a battery of tests and evaluations, Michael was diagnosed with autism.
Michael’s family invested significant energy and means to facilitate and support his development and personal advancement. When Michael was only 11 years old his family made Aliyah, making Israel their new home. Michael and his brother Tzachi were raised with a strong sense of responsibility and passionate love of their country and people. Both of them dreamed about joining the IDF, to proudly serve their country. While Tzachi was able to enlist as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Michael’s joy turned to disappointment when a recruiting officer informed him and his parents that he was exempt from military service due to his autism.
That did not deter Michael from wanting to serve his country, like other young people his age. Michael refused to back down. He applied to the IDF through the Special in Uniform program and was successful.
After a year as a volunteer, Michael was invited few weeks ago to the Bakum Base just outside of Tel Aviv to begin the process with all the other new soldiers, and to receive his “dog tag” and ID cards.
“Maybe we weren’t born here, but we came here for a reason. Israel is our country,” said Michael proudly. Displaying his brand-new ID card, he and brother Tzachi, also in uniform, embraced. “I’m just so glad to have a brother that is just like me in every way” exclaimed Michael.
Mom of the Month
Tami Isaac Shifman's eldest son suffers from Cerebral Palsy, her youngest is a low-functioning autistic boy, and she herself suffered from breast cancer. But she managed to maintain such impressive optimism that she is now passing on the story to other parents. Thank you Tami for inspiring all those around you!
Commander of the Month
We salute Major Rami Chassan, commanding officer of the IDF Arad Base, the Home Front Command base. Major Chassan is an Israeli Druze from Beit Jann. Rami is incredibly proud to serve his country and loves the soldiers in the framework of Home Front Command’s Special in Uniform branch. Just a few months ago, he proudly organized and marched together with the soldiers on their way to receive their orange berets. All the soldiers admire Rami and treat him with love and dignity.
RECOGNIZING OUR SUPPORTERS
Our wall of Appreciation is located in the Special in Uniform center on the Palmachim Air Force Base. We are continuously acknowledging our JNFpartners who have made a significant contribution to Special in Uniform with dedication plaques.
Thanks to your generous support, we have made tremendous progress. Together with Jewish National Fund-USA we have improved our society and our soldier’s lives.
On behalf of so many families and soldiers whose lives are better, thank you!