The Shalem Foundation was established in 1983 by the Federation of Local Authorities in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services. The foundation works to develop comprehensive services and resources for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the country.

The Vision of the Shalem Foundation
"People with developmental intellectual disabilities have the basic right to live normal lives within their natural surroundings, to realize their hidden potential, and to be socially, culturally, and occupationally integrated into the community as much as possible, according to their abilities, desires, and needs."
The Shalem Foundation has played a key role in impacting the lives of people with disabilities and their families. The foundation’s multifaceted team continuously strives to develop innovative programs to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and include them in all aspects of society. The Shalem Foundation understands the complex needs of these individuals and those around them. As these needs change throughout the course of their lives, The Shalem Foundation aims to help every step of the way.
The Shalem Foundation Assists in the Following Areas:
• Funding of physical development of community facilities
• Funding and support of innovative social services and programs for people with developmental disabilities 
• Funding and development of advanced educational and tutoring programs for professionals
• Funding and assistance with artistic productions by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
• Creation and support of activities that promote and change way of thinking and attitudes towards people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
• Funding of research, professional knowledge development and models, training and conferences
The Shalem Foundation provides funding for approximately 200 projects and initiatives throughout Israel each year. The organization works in full cooperation with local councils, representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs & Social Services and other nonprofit organizations throughout Israel.
The Shalem Foundation encourages new ideas and activities in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and offers annual awards to heads of regional councils, public figures and volunteers. The Foundation also awards prizes for excellence to regional councils and individuals with intellectual disabilities who have contributed to society or to unique projects.

The Shalem Foundation has made a number of strategic goals for the years 2015-2020. They include:
1. Changing perceptions and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of daily life. This includes development of a unique enterprise that will offer a glimpse into the world of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The center will be the first of its kind in the world and will enable partnership with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
2. Capacity building, training, applied research, knowledge and skill development for professional workers and caretakers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
3. An incubator for change: the Shalem foundation invites all initiatives which promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in society as well as bettering their quality of life.
The Shalem Foundation is dedicated to utilizing the potential of every person with intellectual disabilities in order to provide them with the best possible quality of life as well as educating society as a whole to be more inclusive and caring. 
Shimon the King – The Story of a Young Radio Announcer from Beit She’an. Movie by Ariel Miroz    

 Shimon Dahan is a young man of 26 from Beit She’an with Down’s Syndrome. He studies in “The Institute for Life Studies for People with Special Needs” in the Jordan Valley. There, he is known as “Shimon the King,” the undisputed leader of a clique of students. But Shimon wants to succeed in “regular society,” to be a musician, to follow his calling. Shimon gets the chance to fulfill his dream when he’s accepted into the radio announcers’ course in “The Kinneret Academic College”. Before the course even begins, Shimon’s imagination takes off and he fantasizes about hosting his own radio show. Concurrently, he leaves his first girlfriend, Mirit, who also has disabilities, feeling that having a girlfriend “like that” isn’t appropriate for him.

Reality, however, is quick to slap Shimon in the face. His inclination to fantasize and his uppity behavior cause the people in his class and the teacher, Menashe Raz, to push him to the side. Shimon is hurt. The other students in his class treat him dismissively and none of them join his initiative to air a radio program about Eastern music
In order to succeed in the course, Shimon has to undergo a process of disillusionment, casting off his childish fantasies.
Is he capable of doing that? Will he succeed in fitting in with regular students and become a radio announcer? Will “Shimon the King” succeed in making his dream come true – to work in music and earn a living from it?
“Shimon the King” is the story of Shimon Dahan on his way to making his dream come true. The question of Shimon’s integration into regular society and his success in the radio course are central points in the movie, signifying both internal and external conflicts. The movie fluctuates between the ideal of personal fulfillment and its central expression in our culture and our true ability, as a society, to understand atypical, dissimilar people and accept them as an integral part of ourselves.
Despite this, the movie is not only the story of “an unusual person” in “regular” society. The movie touches on the human desire in each of us to stand out, to succeed, and to leave our mark on the world. The journey of Shimon Dahan of Beit She’an is a spiritual, social and psychological journey of one person within the huge world; one person who wants to fulfill himself: to be “the best, the most open and the most complete,” exactly as each of us yearn to be

See the ynet article about the movie here


The Shalem Foundation is a partner in the funding of the movie

First Edition of the Meytal House Self-Advocacy Group Newspaper – Day Center for Adults Requiring Full-time Care    

The Meytal House Day Center for adults requiring full-time care under the auspices of the Shalem Foundation recently concluded the workshop, “Self-advocacy and Self-representation,” directed by Maya Goldman and emceed by Lea Davidson

The groundbreaking workshop, among the first of its kind, was held as a pilot project, assessing the prospect of continuity. The process, entailing a workshop for staff members, a meeting for parents, and private and group counseling, was meant to introduce the approach of self-advocacy and self-representation among staff members and the center’s service recipients.
The newspaper is the result of unique activity launched this year in the Meytal House Day Center, focusing on the topics enrichment and knowledge, with methods of implementation produced in cooperation with center service recipients and based on the principals of self-advocacy. In the course of activities for enhancing enrichment and knowledge, center service recipients were exposed to current events via guided exposure to news items, after which the program instructor raised questions, opening opportunities for in-depth analyzation of the material viewed.
Towards the end of the month-long project, workshop participants take upon themselves the editing of the newspaper: choosing topics, colors and, of course, a name for the paper. The newspaper publishing process was led by Meytal House counselor Sharona Abraham, under the administration of Reut Golanik Sela
The center’s self-advocacy process was a joint effort of The Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, the Municipality of Rishon L’Zion, Maya Goldman and the Shalem Foundation, which also assisted in funding the program 

Project "See Me!" Closing Event – Occupational Training Center Shiluvim, A.D.N.M    

 The occupational training center Shiluvim held its closing event for the program “See Me!” designed to increase awareness about dressing, grooming and hygiene

In Shiran Yisrael's thank-you letter to the Shalem Foundation, the workshop director wrote
"Upon completion of the moving, crowning event of the program "See Me!," I would like to thank all of those who partnered to make this wonderful and significant venture a reality, bringing the program to staff members of the Art Center in Kfar HaMaccabi. The course took place under the auspices of the Shalem Foundation, in cooperation with the Disabilities Administration in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services
The course's goal was to raise awareness and spearhead change among occupational training workers in the realm of outward appearance. And this indeed happened
From the very beginning and throughout the entire program, we were accompanied and advised by Ruty Traves, who professionally and successfully led and guided the program among staff counselors and occupational training workers with the utmost patience and dedication. We cannot stop sharing and boasting about the events that took place here at the Center since the program's inception, all of which bring happiness and joy and emphasize the capabilities inherent in choice
Thank you, Ruty, for sharing, and for the desire to generate change. Thank you for the tolerance and patience and for spreading the light in our center
The main event included a happening, sporting booths for clothing, fashion accessories, hair styling and make-up. Numerous volunteers came to share in the event and celebrate this very festive and admirable occasion
Parents, Mrs. Jackie Sorek, director of the Zevulun Regional Council Social Affairs Department, and Mrs. Tsofit Zeiger, director of the Shiluvim division, representatives of A.D.N.M.  residences, and directors of various other services honored us with their presence
Thank you to the Shalem Foundation for the opportunity, and for introducing the program to occupational training centers throughout the country
I am certain and I believe that this subject will take root in our center, among staff and among occupational training participants, and that we will see the results of the program for a long time to come
We grew and we enjoyed; the experience is ongoing
Thank you."



The Shalem Foundation was partner to the initiative and the program's development and was among the program's funders


For more information about the program and to view an explanatory film

From Theory to Practice – An Educational Conference about Disability in Israel    

Beit Noam scholarship recipients initiated a conference highlighting the central dilemmas they face in the course of their academic work: tension and possible models of communication between disabled and the academia. Disability Studies as a political position and academic area of interest has its roots in the disability-group movements in England and the United States, members of whom began to identify themselves as an oppressed group, demanding changes to the existing social order. Against this background, there is an ongoing tension between accepted academic work traditions and the activist spirit in the field of knowledge. The purpose of the conference was to discuss this tension alongside the mutual influences between academic activity and activism
Beit Noam, the Shalem Foundation, the Commission for Equal Rights for People with Disabilities, Ono Academic College, and the Disability Studies division of the Federation of Israeli Sociologists joined together to organize the conference. The special challenge facing conference organizers proved to be including people with disabilities into the conference itself: material for the conference was published using simple language, special efforts were made to find programs in which people with intellectual disabilities could participate. Participants from six programs sent summaries subsequently accepted by the conference and presented their programs and standpoints regarding the relationship between academia and disability. Four of the seven conference sessions were supplemented with simultaneous language simplification, in addition to simultaneous sub-titling and sign language. The conference arranged numerous additional means of accessibility, ensuring equal opportunities for everyone to listen and participate
The conference took place on 26 August at the Ono Academic College, with approximately 180 participants from academia, activists, people with a range of abilities, care and social service professionals and more. Among the noteworthy topics presented were: How Do Social Workers Speak about Disabilities?; What Does the Israeli Academia Have to Say about the Deinstitutionalization Movement? The Relationship Between Research and Activism; Art and Disability Studies; Accessibility and Equality in Higher Education for People with Disabilities; The Joint Learning Experience; The Relation Between Genetic Advisors and Disability; Students' Attitudes towards People with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities; Education as a Trauma; and Students with Disabilities as Change Definers in the Israeli Higher Education System

The Shalem Foundation was a partner to and funding participant for the conference 


Social Media Site Net.Chaver Was Awarded the Commission of Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities’ Equal Rights Prize on 3 December 2017    

The social media site Net.Chaver, initiated and administered by Beit Noam was awarded the Commission for Equal Rights for Persons with Disbailities’ Equal Rights Prize in a ceremony that took place on 3 December 2017 at the Avenue Convention Center, in the presence of Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Justice, and Knesset Member llan Gilon, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities Law
Net.Chaver is a social media site intended for young adults with intellectual developmental disabilities. The project’s goal is to contribute to quality life improvement through expanded social circles, adapted leisure time activities, and available and accessible information channels. Site users can correspond with friends from various localities, play adapted games and view pictures and short movies without having to be reading and writing or mouse usage-ability dependent
As of December 2017, Net.Chaver has 652 active friends from 40 organizations throughout the country. Part of Net.Chaver’s guidance system is based on friends’ support, and central users are partners in decision making, affecting the site’s development

The site was developed by Elwyn-Beit Noam in conjunction with users, and with the support of the Ministry of Economics and the Shalem Foundation, and in cooperation with the Disabilities Administration of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services


Additional information about the program including an explanatory film can be seen here


Lilach – Making Women’s Health Issues Content Accessible to Women with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities    

 The website “Lilach,” developed jointly by the Shalem Foundation and the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services’ Disabilities Administration, was created to explain the role of the gynecologist and how routine visits to the office are conducted. The goal of the site is to lessen feelings of pressure and fear and increase women’s feelings of independence prior to visiting the gynecologist for a standard examination.  The educational material on the site is geared towards women with moderate to severe levels of intellectual developmental disabilities, aged 21 and over, living in residential facilities or in their parents’ home, who utilize various services offered in their communities

The site was the final project for Shahar Mor and Noa Mynrat, students in the Faculty of Instructional Technologies in the Holon Institute of Technology. Instructors: Dr. Hailey Marom, Nogah Resnik.
Content experts: Shosi Aspler and Nilly Ben Dor, Disabilities Administration, Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services and Sharon Ganot, The Shalem Foundation


To access the Lilach site

Lilach Video clip 

A Glimpse into the World of Intellectual Disability Learning Orientation and Primary Encounter with the World of Intellectual Disability    

Cooperation between the Holon Institute of Technology, the Shalem Foundation, and the Disabilities Administration of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services produced interactive educational software whose goal is to impart orientation and basic primary information concerning intellectual disabilities to direct care caregivers and counselors of people with intellectual developmental disabilities
The educational software was the final project for Gal Spektor and Liat Bruchman, students in the Faculty of Technological Education. Instructors: Dr. Hailey Marom, Reut Bahar
Content experts: Sharon Ganot, Director of Information and Collaboration, The Shalem Foundation; Nilly Ben Dor, National Supervisor for Administration of Knowledge and Counseling, The Disabilities Administration, the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services; and Timna Gabay Markevich, Director of Professional Development, the Shalem Foundation
The software can be viewed at the following link

The Feeding and Eating Experience – A Training Manual for Working with People with Disabilities    

 Direct caregivers in facilities for people with disabilities assist residents in most areas of their lives, including bathing, dressing and eating. Often, the demands of the job take a toll, expressed in high levels of tension and mental overload, negatively affect the quality of service provided. The aim of this manual is to create an alternate assessment gauge, other than just eating well, in which the individual, surrounded by a network of partners, takes the central role. This method of assessment will take into account additional elements connected to eating and being fed, and will lessen the dissonance generated among direct caregivers who “suffice” to relate only to the physical element

The guide was written by staff members of the Health Services, Disabilities Administration, the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services, and is based on Professional Knowledge Development Processes, created in conjunction with and funded by the Shalem Foundation
Download the guide here


A Guide to Planning and Founding Rehabilitation Daycare Centers    

 As of 2017, approximately 2,800 babies and toddlers with special needs, ranging in age from six months to three years, receive rehabilitative care and enhancement in approximately 125 rehabilitation daycare center facilities throughout the country. Facilities are supervised by the Rehabilitation Department, Community Care Services, the Disabilities Administration, and are operated as franchisees chartered by the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services- municipalities, NPOs, private organizations

Receiving the best possible care during early childhood is the base for the child’s development and advancement throughout life. Centers located throughout the country work daily, under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, to provide the best possible professional solutions to youngsters with delayed development and their families at the earliest possible stages of their lives. This stage is extremely significant and has the utmost effect on the child’s progress and the strengthening of the family unit in the future. As a supplement to individual, professional treatment, there is a need for an appropriate, professional and respectable physical infrastructure providing solutions to all parties involved in this field
The Guide to Planning and Founding Rehabilitation Daycare Centers is the joint initiative of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services, National Insurance Institute (Bituah Leumi) Foundations – The Foundation for the Development of Services to the Disabled, and the Shalem Foundation – the three strategic partners in development of this service, who promote dozens of construction and/or renovation projects throughout the country
The Guide is an equal opportunity manual, explaining how to get quality service anywhere in the country, and sets forth a uniform set of standards for establishing such facilities. A wide range of partners from various areas of expertise joined together to produce this guide, with the aim of helping to understand the criteria for foundation assistance, the demands and the physical needs necessary to establish suitable services
The Guide outlines the connection between policy and procedure of various organizations – TheMinistry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services, the National Insurance Institute – The Foundation for the Development of Services to the Disabled, the Shalem Foundation, municipal policy makers, operators/franchisees and architects – and the daily needs of the youngsters, their families, and the staff whose job it will be to provide the best  and most professional services

The Guide was developed by the Ministry Social Affairs and Social Services in conjunction with and funded by the National Insurance Institute Foundations – The Foundation for the Development of Services to the Disabled and the Shalem Foundation


Professional assistance and development
Fanny Goldshmit – architect
Dina Ben Lavy, Social Worker – National Supervisor Rehabilitation Daycare Centers
Tami Ayalon, Social Worker – Senior Coordinator, The Foundation for Development of Services to the Disabled, Foundation Division, National Insurance Institute
Micky Cohen, Social Worker – Vice Chairman, The Shalem Foundation
Text and editing: Sarah Karniel
Design and Printing: Chen Design

Professor Nitza Davidovitch of Ariel University in the Shomron was appointed as the new Chair of The Shalem Foundation’s Research Committee    

Excerpt from the interview upon accepting the new appointment
You spent many years in the field of academia and filled many positions. What is your new position
I have been involved in academics for over 30 years. In my present position head the Academic Quality Assessment and Advancement section, am head of the Teacher Training Program in the Shomron’s Ariel University, and head the Forum for the Advancement of Education in Israel
What is your life’s motto, and your motto concerning academia?
Human touch is the determining factor. The ability to move people and ideas forward is a right as well as a duty
What challenges do you anticipate in your new job as Chair of the Shalem Foundation Research Committee
To establish a connection between academia and “the real world;” to establish a connection between the language of academics and the language of activity
Fields of research and academic publications
Higher education, advancement of academic teaching, advancing awareness of the Holocaust, and Jewish identity
5 facts you didn’t know about Professor Davidovitch
I grew up with 5 sisters
I am a mother to 4 sons
I have 30 years active experience in various senior positions in the Shomron’s Ariel University
I have an honorary doctorate from the Pedagogic University in Odessa (a 200-year-old institution)
I work for the advancement of various international initiatives

Mothers and Grandmothers in Families of Children with an Intellectual and Developmental Disability in the Arab Society   Prof Liora Findler, Sundus Fatma Zbedat, MSW Natali Racabi, BSW Vera Skvirski, MSW, The Bar-ilan University, 2017  

 The current study aims to examine the contribution of personal resources such as selfesteem, and interpersonal resources such as emotional and instrumental support, perception of the grandparenting role, and the emotions shame and guilt, to stress and well-being among mothers, and well-being and personal growth among grandmothers. As these are subjective variables, and as mothers and grandmothers are likely to have different perspectives on these issues while reciprocally affecting one another, we examined differences between mothers and grandmothers. Additionally, the reciprocal contribution of mother and grandmother variables on mental health was examined, as were the contribution of the grandmother’s variables on maternal mental health and vice versa. To identify the unique characteristics of mothers and grandmothers of children with intellectual disabilities, these groups were compared with mothers and grandmothers of typically developed children. The study sample was composed of 100 Arab mothers of children with disabilities (aged 3-14), 96 Arab mothers of typically developed children, 101 Arab grandmothers of children with disabilities, and 100 Arab grandmothers of typically developed children. Mothers and grandmothers of children with disabilities were identified through local social v services and Akim frameworks, while the comparison group participants were identified as residing in the same areas as mothers and grandmothers from the research group

Nine research instruments were used in this study: 1. Stress Related Growth Inventory (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996) - grandmothers only; 2. Mental Health Inventory (Veit & Ware, 1983); 3. Multidimensional Experience of Grandparenthood Set of Inventories - MEG (Findler, Taubman-Ben-Ari, Nuttman-Shwartz & Lazar, 2013); 4. Self Esteem - RSE (Rosenberg, 1965); 5. Support Functions Scale (Dunst, Trivette and Deal, 1988); 6. Perceived Stress Scale - PSS (Cohen, Kamarck & Mermelsteim, 1983); 7. State Shame and Guilt Scale (Tangney and Dearing Tangney & Dearing, 2002); 8. A demographic questionnaire that was composed for purposes of this study; 9. Semi-structured in depth interviews.
Following the completion of initial questionnaires, six mothers and seven grandmothers continued to describe their personal experiences as mothers / grandmothers of children with disabilities in semi-structured interviews. These interviews were recorded and transcribed, and quotes obtained during these interviews are presented in the discussion to illustrate and highlight some of the issues that were raised in the quantitative part of the study
The findings of the current study suggest that there are more similarities than differences between mothers and grandmothers of children with disabilities and those of typically developed children. The findings regarding the mothers indicate that there are no differences in the study variables between mothers of children with and without disabilities, with the exception of self-esteem and guilt. Both self-esteem and guilt were higher among mothers of children vi with disabilities than among mothers of typically developed children. It is possible that the reality of raising a child with a disability has exposed the internal strengths of these mothers, and has forced them to utilize all available internal and external resources and, in fact, re-shape themselves. It is also possible that the fact that these mothers have managed to cope with stigma and social and familial difficulties, and succeed in their roles and their loyalty to their children, has enabled them to realize their strengths and has reinforced their self-esteem. As for the differences in levels of guilt, this too may be related to the characteristics of the Arab society whereby the family reputation is very valuable and the mother faces high expectations. The birth of a child with a disability may cast a shade over the perception of the maternal role and lead to high levels of guilt when the messages received from the surroundings imply that the mother is not coping successfully with the demands of her role. Similar to mothers, the self-esteem of grandmothers of children with intellectual disabilities is higher than that of grandmothers of typically developed children. It is possible that the special role these grandmothers have in their children’s families, and the accompanying feelings of vitality and capability, alongside the appreciation and gratitude from their families, contribute to their higher self-esteem. Regarding perception of the grandparenting role, the findings suggest that there are differences between mothers in the behavioral (instrumental and emotional support) and affective (positive and negative emotions) dimensions. Mothers of children with disabilities felt that they received less support from the grandmothers than mothers of typically developed children did. Mothers of children with disabilities also reported lower levels of positive emotions and higher negative emotions from the grandmothers as compared vii with mothers of typically developed children. The affective dimension as reported by mothers are not consistent with those reported by grandmothers, where no differences were observed between groups. It appears that in families of children with disabilities, grandmothers perceive their emotions more positively than do their daughters or daughtersin-law. The findings among grandmothers suggest that both the research and comparison groups expressed similarly high positive emotions and low negative emotions. The findings among grandmothers also suggest that grandmothers of children with intellectual disabilities invest more in their role as grandparents than grandmothers of typically developed children. Naturally, the demands that are involved in raising children with disabilities require that grandmothers be more active and perform more tasks within the family
The hierarchical regression models examining the contribution of the study variables to stress and mental health among mothers suggest that self-esteem is positively associated with well-being and negatively associated with stress. It appears that despite the demanding circumstances, mothers who appreciate their abilities and are aware of their strengths, feel capable of managing their lives properly and are confident that they will be able to cope with and overcome crises and difficulties in the future. Guilt was found to be positively associated with stress and negatively associated with well- being. It is possible that given the unique circumstances, when mothers feel unable to provide their children with what they need, or when they harbor harsh emotions towards their children or sense hostility from the surroundings, they live with a shadow of guilt. Such ambivalence can cause stress and lower emotional well-being. Mothers may feel viii unable to cope with the great challenges that are part of raising children with disabilities and their siblings
Social support contributed to the well-being of mothers but not to their levels of stress. These mothers often face great stress and it is plausible that support and help from grandmothers may not alleviate such stress. Yet the feeling that you have someone in your corner, the care and devotion of mothers and mothers-in-law, contributes to a good feeling which in turn leads to well-being. Finally, the significant interaction indicated that among daughters, the higher they perceived their mothers as motivated in their role as grandmothers, the higher their well-being was Stress, self-esteem and guilt contributed to the well-being of all grandmothers. Lower levels of stress and guilt and higher self-esteem contributed to higher levels of well-being. As is likely to happen, especially with older women, stress that caused a sense of lack of control, sadness, irritation and frustration from the mounting problems upset the grandmothers, increased their distress and made it harder for them to experience wellbeing. Guilt is naturally accompanied by an intrapersonal conflict between internal commands and behavior (O'Brien et al., 2007) and thus may be detrimental to one’s adaptation processes. Additionally, higher self-esteem among grandmothers was associated with higher well-being, as recognition of the fact that they are valued and needed, contributed to their well-being. Finally, the interaction between stress and meaning of grandparenthood also contributed to well-being. Among grandmothers with low levels of meaning in grandparenthood, lower stress levels were associated with higher emotional well-being. ix Stress, self-esteem, a non-linear level of guilt, support, burden and positive emotions all contributed to personal growth among grandmothers. Lower levels of stress were associated with greater personal growth. Stress that was described by the grandmothers as accumulating difficulties, a sense of inefficiency, distress and irritability contributed to lower levels of meaningful activity, desire for change and for the development of new opportunities - all expressions of personal growth. As for self-esteem, the findings suggest that higher self-esteem is associated with greater growth. It is possible that with the passing of the years, and after providing their children and grandchildren with continued support, grandmothers require internal strength and resources that will enable them to move forward and continue developing a sense of personal growth. The non-linear association between guilt and growth suggests that this association is only evident when there are high levels of guilt, which probably motivate the grandmothers to re-examine and change things, eventually leading to personal growth
Additionally, low burden and positive emotions contributed to personal growth. It is plausible that when grandparenthood is perceived as less difficult and burdensome, and as a more positive experience, this role fills the grandmothers with a sense of vitality and a feeling that they are contributing to the family, which in turn contributes to personal growth. Two interactions contributed to personal growth: Concession and stress; cost and self-esteem. It appears that among grandmothers who feel they pay a higher price, lower levels of stress are associated with greater personal growth. Similarly, among grandmothers with low self-esteem, lower levels of stress are associated with greater personal growth. The dyadic analysis indicated that when mothers rated the symbolic dimension of grandparenthood as higher among their mothers or mothers-in-law, the mental health of x the grandmothers was lower; and when they rated the behavioral dimension higher, the mental health of grandmothers was higher. It is possible that the symbolic dimension - reflecting the sense of family continuity, seeing the children as representing the future - may be a cause of tension and frustration for the grandmothers. Moreover, thoughts of the family’s future are often accompanied by thoughts about old age and dying, and thus greater focus on this dimension may be detrimental to the well-being among grandmothers. The behavioral dimension represents the mothers’ perceptions of the assistance provided by their mothers and mothers-in-law in raising the child, including enrichment activities of joint learning and playing or providing warmth and love. When the mothers have a positive perception of the grandmothers’ activities this contributes to a good feeling which leads to well-being among grandmothers
Higher self-esteem among mothers and higher ratings of the affective dimension of grandparenthood contributed to personal growth among grandmothers. The symbolic dimension of grandparenthood, as rated by the mothers, was negatively associated with personal growth among grandmothers. The literature often mentions an association between high self-esteem among mothers and the ability to utilize and benefit from social support (Florian & Findler, 2001). Naturally, this ability also affects grandmothers; mothers are confident in their abilities and do not feel threatened, and hence can express gratitude to the grandmothers which in turn leads to personal growth among the grandmothers. The symbolic dimension of grandparenthood which attributes positive emotions to the way the grandmother feels when fulfilling her role also contributes to a good feeling of recognition and, hence, to a sense of vitality and personal growth. On the other hand, in line with the findings regarding well-being among grandmothers, the xi symbolic dimension of grandparenthood was negatively associated with personal growth. Personal growth, which represents the horizon, a sense of satisfaction and vitality, is at times opposed to thoughts about old age and the accompanying losses. The symbolic dimension carries reminders of this and thus may create tension and impede personal growth among grandmothers
The current findings suggests that there is a strong affinity between generations, and that mothers and grandmothers in the Arab society attribute great importance to the role of grandmothers and regard them as a unique potential resource in the family. Their experience, free time and motivation to provide emotional and instrumental support, alongside their sense of commitment to their family, position them at the head of their children’s support system. Despite their active role and contributions, little attention has been given by professionals to their experiences and needs, and to the way in which they are perceived by their daughters and daughters-in-law. In order to benefit from the potential of their support, it is necessary to develop intergenerational interventions that are culturally sensitive and relate to the unique characteristics of the Arab family. Such programs should include the provision of knowledge and information on disabilities, develop communication skills and channels within the family, develop skills that are relevant to children with disabilities, and provide emotional support for mothers and grandmothers


This work was supported by a grant from Shalem Fund for Development of Services for People with Intellectual Disabilities in the Local Councils in Israel


To the full text research

The journey to Poland of people with Intellectual Disability Disorder- "Hashahar" delegation   Sarit Tilovich Levi, Supervision by: Prof Zehavit Gross, Bar Ilan University, 2017  

 This study explores the traditional Israeli journey to Poland as experienced by adults with intellectual disability disorders. The purpose of the present study is to analyze and examine the journey to Poland taken by intellectually disabled individuals. The following research questions were considered
1.       In what manner do adults with from intellectual disability disorders experience and interpret the journey to the concentration and death camps, from their own perspectives as well as that of the researcher who had accompanied the journey as an observer
2.       In what manner, if any, did adults with from intellectual disability disorders travelling to Poland realize the educational goals determined by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social Affairs
Over the past several decades, Holocaust studies have become an integral part of the educational curriculum in several countries worldwide (Bastel, Matzka & Miklas, 2010; Gundare & Batelaan, 2003; Mailes & Cowan, 2012; Spalding, Savage & Garcia, 2007; Utgaard, 2003). In Israel, Youth journeys to Poland are a common and well-known phenomenon, considered one of the key events of the Israeli education system (Podoshen, Hunt & Andrzejewski, 2015), evoking a discourse of supporters and opponents alike. Per Gross, the Holocaust is a primary factor in the Jewish identity of youths in Israel (Gross, 2010a). To that end, the journey to Poland is still a relatively new and unfamiliar phenomenon among persons with from intellectual disability disorders. Persons with from IDD have long been absent from national-social Holocaust discourse. The phenomenon of conducting such journeys for the IDD population has developed on fertile soil of change in perceptions and stances toward IDD individuals in Israel and worldwide, including change in treatment policies (Salvador-Carulla & Bertelli, 2008; Schalock, Luckasson & Shogren, 2007). In 2012, Israel adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, promoting equal opportunity rights and actively working to make all areas of life more accessible. These include, among others, accessibility to museums, memorial sites and other sites of national-cultural significance
While journeys to Poland have been researched in regards to typically developed individuals (Lev, 1998, 2007; Davidovich & Suan, 2011), they have not been explored in regards to the IDD population. This study aims to shed light on the phenomenon and examine the manner in which IDD individuals experience the journey to Poland
Research Method
The research method chosen for this study is the qualitative paradigm, following a strategy of multiple case studies (Stake, 1995). This approach allows for a complex, holistic examination and findings analysis, achieving a detailed, in-depth and all-inclusive depiction of processes and subjective interpretations given by the sampled individuals. The chosen case study is the August 2015 "Hashachar 6" delegation to Poland. The sampled cases are comprised of 21 participants – adults with from IDD (mild impairment). The researcher acted as observer throughout the entire process, from group building and journey preparation, to the journey itself. The researcher held the role of delegation leader, performed observations, journaled the journey, documented evening group discussions at each stage of the journey, and interviewed the participants upon their return to Israel. Analysis of the material collected in the current study follows Gross (1995). Phrases were used as analysis units, and repeating themes and patterns were searched for in an attempt to recognize categories and inter-category relationships (Gross, 1995, 2002). Several procedures were performed during the data analysis phase (journal, evening talk documentation, interviews). First, primary categories were identified (ETIC) based on prior theories; data were openly sorted and analyzed accordingly (Tzabar Ben-Yehoshua, 1997). At the second stage, an inductive process of new category identification was performed (EMIC). Sources were read several times over, for an in-depth understanding and primary analysis following open-coding approach. First, we identified words and meanings in the phrases, and then examined the interactions of their meanings within the text, in order to created temporary initial categories (Kassan & Krumer-Nevo, 2010). Next, we performed a mapped analysis, examining the relations within the categories and between categories and subcategories, identifying and binding relationships in order to create hierarchy between categories (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Denzin & Lincoln, 2011). Finally, we identified a super-category, which influenced and fed the other categories. It is presented in the theoretical model, which binds the professional literature and well-known, relevant theories pertaining to the current study.
Following the analysis, eight categories were defined. Of these, one was chosen as the main category, defined as "authentic, empowering, unmediated and multi-sensory learning". We found relationships leading to the rest of the categories: "sensations and feelings", "knowledge acquisition", "personal strengths and various difficulties", "use of defense mechanisms and need for assistance and support", "relationships and belonging", "the journey as a formative experience" and "personal change"
Main Findings and Discussion
The findings correspond with those of other studies performed on a normative student population, which point to a significance of the journeys to Poland for the non-disabled population (Davidovich & Kendell, 2006; Davidovich & Suan, 2011; Yaakobi & Zilberberg, 2008; Lev, 2007; Bacon & Kimball, 1989;; Berman & Davis-Berman, 1995 Chan,2012 Cross, 2002 Ewert, 1989 ; ;Cowan & Maitles, 2007 Gross, 2010a; Jacobs, 2014; Pfeiffer & Jones, 1983; Reid, 2002; Romi & Lev, 2007)
a.       Regarding the question of the manner in which participants experience and interpret the journey to the concentration and death camps, from their own perspective as well as that of the researcher acting as "participating observer" – it was found that IDD individuals experience the journey to Poland as a significant learning experience, as presented both cognitively and emotionally. The interactive group journey in which they participated has promoted their learning of the Holocaust and became a means for reassuring their identity and sense of belonging.
It was found that persons of IDD who had taken this journey were able to identify with the Jewish people and forge a sense a belonging to the land of Israel, the State of Israel, and their ancestry. In this regard, they are no different than normative adolescents. As Davidovich and Suan (2011) point out, the vast majority of studies concerning stance and identity following the journey reveal that the experience acts as a device for validation and reaffirmation of the Jewish-Israeli identity, of Zionist and national values, and of Jewish belonging (Gross, 2000; Romi & Lev, 2003; Davidovich & Kendell, 2006; Davidovich & Suan, 2011; Podoshen, Hunt & Andrzejewski, 2015)
b.      Regarding the question of whether and how persons of IDD who had ventured on the journey to Poland realize the educational goals determined by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social Affairs, it was found that they were indeed able to do so, in the following manner
1.       Sampled participants had acquired knowledge, expressed interest and identified with Jewish life in Europe before and during the Holocaust. These manifested, among others, in question asking, comments throughout the journey, and in the interviews conducted shortly after their return to Israel
2.       It was found that knowledge acquisition and the emotional experience had come together, enabling participants to identify with the Jewish people and values. This manifested in talk of belonging to the Jewish people and a bond to Jewish symbols.
3.       Participants were exposed to contents of Zionist education, humanity and human rights, expressed via active participation in ceremonies and attachment to national symbols such as flag waving and singing of the Tikva, the national anthem
Hands-on, multi-sensory learning was expressed via visual,audiological, kinesthetic and olfactory means
Visual – learning through observation seems to have been highly significant and stimulated participants' imagination. It produced responses of new insights and internalization of their knowledge of the Holocaust
Auditory – it was found that listening and attentiveness were associated with the visual channel and helped the participants learn, comprehend, and internalize their experience, reinforcing their knowledge of the Holocaust
Kinesthetic – It was found that through physical and unmediated touch, participants experienced sensations of shock, which they had expressed emotionally, verbally, throughout the journey and in their post-journey reports
Olfactory – the unique smells of the camps had formed associations in the minds of the participants—death, gas and smoke—thereby enabling them to emotionally connect with the difficult experience
These findings fit the argument presented by Maitles (2011), that a visit to the camps can provide visitors with a greater understanding of the magnitude of the tragedy and cruelty that happened there, and aids the learning and understanding process
These findings correspond with studies claiming that attending the actual place where the events occurred, detachment from daily life and a focus on a solitary topic, pushing all other matters aside, as well as an incorporation of the emotional aspect, allow for maximal learning conditions (Lev, 2010). It is an authentic experience that enables multisensory learning, corresponding with the entire being of the student. Many researchers report this form of learning to be helpful in knowledge provision, via an emotional experience, and may also lead behavioral and social change. Furthermore, the personal experience forms a foundation for learning among normative populations, and even more so among the special needs community (Bacon & Kimball, 1989; Berman & Davis-Berman, 1995;Chan,2012; Cross, 2002 Ewert, 1989; Reid, 2002; Yaakobi & Zilberberg, 2008)
To conclude, it appears that the participants in the current study, IDD individuals of mild impairment, were found fit to participate in the journeys to the concentration camps in Poland, revealed to be a significant learning experience for them as much as it is for the general population. Nevertheless, and despite high correlation between prior studies of unimpaired populations and the population of the current study, we had found several unique characteristics exhibited by IDD individuals under the circumstances of the journey. These include high levels of fear, intensity of hoesickness, and an increased need for external support; all of these will be elaborated upon later. Several parameters should therefore be taken into account for specific future reference regarding delegations to Poland of persons with IDD, as detailed in the recommendations below
The primary conclusion arising from this study is that, given the role of the Holocaust in the Israeli national consensus, and given that persons of IDD have the right to equal opportunities in all area of life, a journey to Poland of individuals with IDD may provide an opportunity for learning about the Holocaust, identifying with the Jewish people, attain a sense of belonging to the people of Israel, the State of Israel, and their ancestry
Alongside the benefits and successes of the journey, as revealed in the current study, the journey itself is complex and involves physical and emotional challenges that hold the potential for negative repercussions (injury, post-traumatic stress reactions). It is thus recommended that
Attention should be given to therapeutic treatment of participants following their return, and professional care for those in need of it
Attention should be given to improving and adapting the physical conditions of the journey, to fit the needs of individuals with IDD
Considering the pioneering nature of this study, the results should be scrutinized. Additional research designs should be developed, in order to deepen the understanding of this issue, particularly follow-up studies that further examine the implications of the journey for a bigger sample. These should be conducted using further research methods such as quantitative study, population comparison, and an observational study examining the effects of the journey over time
This work was supported by a grant from Shalem Fund for Development of Services for People with Intellectual Disabilities in the Local Councils in Israel

 To the full text research