Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Kalman Samuels

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Position  Founder and Chairman
Organisation  SHALVA

Began  1990
Name  Kalman Samuels
Kalman Samuels

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Kalman Samuels (born Kerry, September 7, 1951) is the Founder of SHALVA The Israel Association for Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. SHALVA provides therapy, vocational training, family support and advocacy for members of the special needs community.


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Early life

Kalman was raised in a nonobservant Jewish home in Vancouver, Canada where he attended Sir Winston Churchill High School. Upon his graduation in 1969 he was given academic and basketball scholarships to the University of British Columbia. After his first year studying philosophy he traveled Europe with plans to undergo coursework in France. However his mother requested that he stop in Israel to visit relatives. Enamored with Jewish culture and heritage, he cancelled the trip to France and enrolled in several Yeshivot, and in 1977 he received his rabbinical ordination.

Marriage and birth of Yossi

In 1973 Samuels married Malki Klein and the couple took up residence in Jerusalem. In 1977, their second son, Yossi Samuels, at the time 11 months old, was injured by a faulty DPT vaccination and was rendered blind, deaf and acutely hyperactive. After 7 years with no communication, Yossi's special education teacher, Shoshana Weinstock achieved a break through by relaying sign language into the palm of his hand, teaching Yossi his first word, 'Shulchan' (Hebrew, שֻׁולְחָן), meaning table.

Founding and expansion of SHALVA

Due to their experiences raising Yossi, Malki and Kalman established an afternoon playgroup for children with special needs. Over time, the program expanded to meet the needs of a broader spectrum of special needs, from birth through adulthood. Today SHALVA offers a constellation of therapy interventions, inclusive educational frameworks , social and recreational programs, and vocational training to hundreds of individuals with disabilities; as well as family support, respite and global advocacy initiatives. In recognition of SHALVA's accomplishments and an ongoing need to expand the availability of special needs services, the Jerusalem Municipality provided the organization with a seven acre property adjacent to the planned Route 16 highway and the Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in the Beit HaKerem neighborhood of Jerusalem. The new Shalva National Center is an international leader in the field of disability care; housing some of Israel's largest and most advanced disability accessible facilities and offering unprecedented opportunities to people with disabilities in Israel.

Prizes and acknowledgments

  • 1994 – President of Israel Prize for Excellence
  • 1999 – Mayor of Jerusalem's Award for Exceptional Service
  • 2004 – Shalem Foundation Award as "Israel's Most Unique Program for the Mentally Challenged"
  • 2005 – Knesset Speaker's Quality of Life Prize for Leadership & Public Excellence
  • 2006 – The Jerusalem Foundation Teddy Kollek Prize
  • 2007 – Aminadav National Service Award for Excellence
  • 2009 – Jerusalem's Award of Distinction for National Service Volunteers
  • 2010 – SHALEM Foundation Award
  • 2012 – The Ministry of Education Outstanding Volunteer Award
  • References

    Kalman Samuels Wikipedia