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Students of Ilanot

school yard


by Rhonda Spivak, April 14, 2013










Funds raised by the Jewish National Fund of Canada Manitoba/Saskatchewan Region’s (JNF) annual fundraiser, the Negev Gala, will go towards a schoolyard development project for Ilanot School located in Jerusalem’s Gonen (Katamon) neighborhood in Israel, which is featured in the above video.

Ilanot is a public special education school with 70 students, aged 6-21, with sever motor and cognitive disabilities.

The project will renovate the yards of the school to meet safety and accessibility standards.Both Jewish  and Arab students attend Ilanot (According to information sent to the Winnipeg Jewish Review by the JNF, Ilanot School has approximately 80 % Jewish students and 20% Arab Muslim students.)  

“This project is a perfect fit for the JNF, “says Rob Berkowits, Executive Director, “The restoration project is not only is environmentally focused but Ilanot school is a perfect example of Jews and Arabs coming together to attend the same special education school.”

This year’s Negev Gala will honour the Arab Jewish Dialogue, an organization committed to peaceful interactions between Arabs and Jews. The environmental and development work that JNF does benefits all Israelis, regardless of religion or race. 
Right now, the schoolyard is practically condemned and unusable for the students. This restoration project will create a space that is designed to meet the students’ physical, social and emotional needs, especially those with lower cognitive skills. The equipment, selected based on current special-needs standards, will be set up on a safe, rubberized surface. Benches, shade pergolas, water taps and a fish pond will be installed, along with fun playground elemetns such as a sliding board, a bell tower with pull-ropes, a wooden “treasure box” containing objects to touch and a Perspex “giving tree” – a structure affixed with objects made for touching. Herbs and spices will be grown in irrigated planters.
“Young people are the future of Israel and we’re so happy to be supporting Ilanot, not only because the project impacts the environment but because we will see the direct impact the JNF’s work will have on these children,” says Karla Berbrayer, President of the Board of the Jewish National Fund.

Students come from a wide variety of geographical locations to attend school at Ilanot. The aim of the learning program is to advance the students in the particular fields of study, to teach them to function independently and to maximize the students’ self-management. The program takes into account the differences between the individual students and great effort is made to create a personalized program for each student in the fields of study, rehabilitation, physical needs and emotional welfare.

Prior to Six-Day War in June 1967, the Gonen neighborhood was on the Jordanian-Israeli armistice line.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.