Growing Wings – Closing Event of the Self-Advocating Course at the Halichot Beit-Yaakov Seminary in Modi’in Illit      

 “Each of us has their own wings, we have learned to get to know them and fly with them”. This was how one student summarized the course “Self-Advocating for People with developmental intellectual disabilities” at the Halichot Beit-Yaakov Seminary in Modi’in Illit. This course, at the joint initiative of the Shalem Fund and the Halichot Beit-Yaakov Seminary in Modi’in Illit, is a ground-breaking course, and this is the first time a course such as this one is held in an orthodox education center. The course was attended by about twenty education workers from the fields of regular and special education


The course, its goals and content, were carefully selected and adapted to the lifestyle, religious worldview and unique challenges of this group. Among others, the course included religious lections dealing with issues of giving out of respect and the value of a person as a person, concepts in advocating such as free choice, autonomy and realization of rights took on a different meaning adapted to the community dialogue, and direct meetings with personal stories took place. Attorney Haya Gershoni coordinated the course on behalf of the seminary. During the summarizing meeting, the students shared their insights from the course as well as the personal growth they experienced - in aliases
Shifra: Using the awareness to rights I referred my relative to receive a psychologist’s counseling free of charge, when the religious centers were not aware of this option, and since then they have used this for other students as well
Nava: I drew personal conclusions from the course. I learned to clarify the salary I deserve, and in fact – to advocate for myself

The insight that consolidates the array was provided by Sarah: I no longer see the field of disabilities as black and white, integration or separation, normative or irregular. I see that there are many shades of gray