Aleh Negev's therapy pool.
I have been fortunate to visit Israel four different times. Each visit, I have felt great joy, respect, and awe for all that has been accomplished by this dynamic, vibrant, extraordinary nation.
On this particular visit, during a JNF solidarity mission, I had the honor and privilege of experiencing the village of Aleh Negev.
This facility,established by Didi and Doron Almog, was created to provide high-level medical and rehabilitative aid to severely disabled adults and children in need of complex care. Didi and Doron recognized that Israel had not yet established a plan to organize care for aging, neurologically impaired children beyond the age of 18, and this created a great vacuum for parents needing critical services. The need for care does not recognize birthdays.
Upon arriving, it quickly became clear that Aleh Negev is a remarkable oasis of dignity, humanity and community in the desert, and it is flourishing with commitment and love.
Children and their families come to Aleh Negev as a refuge that welcomes Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Bedouin families. It's a bridge of peace that does not see political conflict. Rather, it sees and recognizes that families in these unique circumstances need a strong sense of community, tremendous resources, and significant support.
Julie Kravetz with Aleh Negev founder Major General Doron Almog.
The universal thread shared by the Aleh Negev community is that each individual matters, regardless of background or ability, and the concerns of family members with cognitively and physically disabled loved ones are a shared concern.
Many families arrive at Aleh Negev ostracized by their community and unable to meet the complex needs of their children. Aleh Negev welcomes them with goals of open arms, open hearts and open communication to help each family along their journey.
To achieve these goals, several therapies have been developed, including a sensory garden, hydrotherapy, pet therapy, and other initiatives aimed at inclusion, dignity, and comfort. Volunteers come from far and near to share their love and support in an effort to reduce isolation and empower strength and hope for families.
Aleh Negev exemplifies the principle of tikkun olam, repairing the world and striving to make it whole. It would be wonderful knowing that all children needing the services provided by Aleh Negev were served. Sadly this is not the case. There is an extensive waiting list for families desperate to be seen. The good news is that plans are underway to build an additional wing that will include multiple services. This critical project will enable Aleh Negev’s growth and commitment to compassion and exemplary care.
I urge you to visit Aleh Negev. It is a beacon of light and progress that shines brightly and lets us know that smiles are worth their weight in gold. Many children at Aleh Negev are unable to speak and will never be able to speak, but they often smile as a result of their comfort, security, and joy.
Every day at Aleh Negev provides opportunities for warmth and more smiles. Please join us in supporting the efforts and accomplishments of this essential and very special organization.