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. 
Anchor for Life- Special Needs at Sea - project, Beit She'an    


Anchor for Life- Special Needs at Sea -  is an educational marine program for people with developmental intellectual disabilities. The activities take place once a week for two hours at the sea scouts branch of Moshava Kinneret. Sea Scouts are the marine branch of the Israeli Scouts, the only youth movement in Israel. The "Anchor for life- special needs at sea" program has been operating in Sea Scout branches around the country for several years, mainly in the center of Israel.

The purpose of the initiative is to integrate people with developmental intellectual disabilities in enriching social activities in the periphery of the country.

The goals of this social initiative additionally include:

Improving the personal abilities of people with developmental and cognitive disabilities, Improving their self-esteem, Reinforcing their ability to collaborate with a group, Coping with stressful situations, Accumulating positive experiences of joy and excitement, Providing life skills including self-discipline, the ability to maintain inter-personal boundaries, friendships, teamwork, responsibility and perseverance, Better integration in the wider community.

The program also impacts the parents of the participants and municipal entities, including the educational system. This activity is more unique thanleisure activities typically offered to these children and introduces different challenges and coping experiences for them.

The Sea Scouts, the Shalem Foundation, and the pupils of the "Golani" Special Education School in Beit She'an have partnered together to bring about this special initiative. 

Simple Dreams- a new and touching play    


Simple Dreams is a novel and touching play performed by actors with developmental intellectual disabilities. In fact, it is the first creative ensemble in Beit She’an composed entirely of adults with disabilities. It entertains a dialogue about diverse individuals in the community while simultaneously exploringthe goals and aspirations we all share in life.  In the play, the surprising dreams of members of the group come to life during a lecture given by a beloved professor.

The play is product of a 10 month long personal and joint group process led by Director Ido Wiess. This enabled each of the participants to express their aspirations through the group and through the medium of theater.

The play is accompanied by an informative program about unique communities within greater society. It includes a lecture before the play hosted by professionals in the field and a guided talk following the play with the director and some of the actors. There is additionally an advertising campaign running to raise awareness about unique communities.

Director of the play: IdoWiess.

Collaborators: the Municipality of Beit She'an, Akim Israel and local authorities.


The Shalem Foundation contributes financially to creating new performances for various audiences.


A Short film about the play

Integrating Children and Youth with Developmental Intellectual Disabilities in Youth Movements    


Integrating children with developmental intellectual disabilities in youth movements n has a positive effect on all children involved.
This personal acquaintance helps break stigmas and prejudices and promotes positive values that will influence the behavior the children toward people with developmental intellectual disabilities as adults. Additionally, the children with developmental intellectual disabilities who participate broaden their social and support circles and acquire new social skills.
 The incorporation of children with developmental intellectual disabilities requires accessibility adjustments, making the activities suitable in a structured way, providing knowledge and supporting the instructors of the youth movements.
Understanding the importance and necessity of resources for instructors of youth movements, JDC Israel Ashalim, the Shalem Foundation, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, the Ministry of Education, the Council of Youth Movements in Israel among others, began a program in January 2014 to accompany the integration of children with such disabilities in youth movements.
About the program
This is a five year program which began in February 2014. The main activities are:
· Developing a manual for integration of groups and individuals, including supporting tools.
· Training for staff at different levels: youth movement headquarters, coordinators and instructors of special groups and general groups, as well as extensive training for the integration coordinators that lead the program in each youth movement.
· Development of a designated internet site that includes the working theory, new tools that were developed for this purpose, forums for instructors to learn from their peers and pose questions to experts, and information for coordinators.
· Working with young adults as they transition into leadership roles .
· Tools for changing attitudes in headquarters, instructors and children and youth in the movement.
The program is accompanied by a wide spread television campaign advocating children to befriend children with disabilities broadcasted on the children's channel beginning April 26th 2015.
The slogan of the campaign is "Even if it requires more – don't miss out on a friend" and is accompanied by three video clips that address the acceptance of those different from us.
The Shalem Foundation took part in each stage of this program.
To watch the video clip: dancing together

Inauguration of The Center for Occupational Services in Rishon LeZion    


The Center of Occupational Services in Rishon LeZion is a longstanding training center that has undergone extensive renovations and development over the past three years. It has been expanded to 1,300m² with the capacity to serve 100 people with intellectual disabilities.
The building, renovation and equipping process was led by the municipality of Rishon LeZion in collaboration with Chimes Israel Association, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, the Shalem Foundation and the National Insurance Institute of Israel.
Today the Center serves as an occupational center for 80 people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. In addition, 20 of its occupants have integrated and found supported employment outside the center in a variety of occupations. In the center the people are occupied with productive work, while working on self-promotion in different areas of life.
The building provides its occupants with spacious workshops, activity rooms for enriching activities, a dining room, and a comfortable and pleasant space to stay, including a spacious lobby and a big yard. There they are able to work on self-improvement in various aspects of their lives. In addition to the building renovations, needed equipment was purchased. The new equipment enables better rehabilitation and integration practice for those at the center.  
A formal ceremony was held on January 14th 2015, with representatives of the local council, Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, Division of Services for Persons with Development Disabilities, the Shalem Foundation, the National Insurance Institute of Israel, Chimes Israel along with families and rehabilitators from the center. The rehabilitators officiated the ceremony and presented dancing and singing segments. Art work made by the participants in the center's art class were presented at the event, and guests received a small gift as a present from Chimes Israel ,crafted by the participants at the center of occupational services in Kfar Saba.
The impressive building creates a respectable and pleasant atmosphere and testifies to the acknowledgement of the right of people with special needs to a high quality of life and to equal treatment and services.


The Shalem Foundation took part in planning the center and in funding the construction and equipment and accompanies the development of the center throughout the years it has operated.

Keren Shalem: helping make life complete    

 The Shalem Fund celebrates thirty years of improving the quality of life for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in the local councils

This video summarizes the activities of the Fund in 2014
 Editor : Shay Shlomi

People with Disabilities in Israe - Facts & Figures    

From the booklet: "The State of Israel provides services to children and adults with
physical, sensory, mental health and intellectual disabilities. In recent years, Israel ratified the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of People with Disabilities and legislation has been passed to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the community.
However, despite these developments, much still needs to be done in order to better integrate people with disabilities into all
.aspects of Israeli life and to help them realize their full potential
Our hope is that the information presented here will help to clarify and focus attention on the remaining challenges and assist in the
".Efforts to address them


לפריט המלא
קרא | הורד

Inauguration of apartment complex for community living through the Shekel Association    


To complement the growing trend of integrating people developmental intellectual disabilities into mainstream society, a new model of communal housing has been initiated.  Apartments are adapted to be accessible for disabled adults including those in wheelchairs.  Accommodating up to six people per unit, the apartments enable personalized treatment while providing a sense of community. 

Previously, people with disabilities who required nursing and other assistance lived in segregated homes or institutions far removed from everyday society. This model implements their right to be part of the greater community.

The appearance of people with a range of disabilities in the community aids the changing social perception about the abilities and capabilities of people with disabilities.

Living in the community enables the individual to maintain the sequence of experiences and relationships from the day he or she was born in his or her hometown and deepen their sense of belonging. The apartment also provides the family of the tenant a friendly and familial environment while visiting their relative.

Shekel Association provides community services for people with special needs.  In December 2014 they inaugurated a new apartment complex in the community for people with developmental intellectual disabilities.

The project was completed through the collaboration of the Shalem Foundation and the Foundation of Services for the Disabled of the National Insurance Institute of Israel.

The apartments were all inaugurated on the same day, inviting representatives from each institute to visit each apartment together with the occupants and their families.  Among the representatives were:

Representatives came from the management of Shekel association
Chairman of the Shalem Foundation, Mr. Haim Ga'ash
CEO of the Shalem Foundation, Mrs. Riva Moskal
Manager of Projects at the Foundation,Mrs. Miki Cohen
Director of the Foundation of Services for the Disabled of the National Insurance Institute of IsraelMr. Shmuel Vinglas
CEO of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, Mr. Yossi Silman
Director of the Department of Developmental Mental Disability in the Ministry of Social Affairs,  Mr. Gidon Shalom
Jerusalem Ministry Council Member,EladMalka
Head of Social Affairs in the Jerusalem Ministry, Rabbi Ya'akovHalperin

Mr.Yossi Silman, CEOof the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, spoke of the intent of his ministry to continue opening more apartments for people with disabilities in the community and of his hope to transfer people from group homes to such apartments.


“It’s so nice, to ride together on a bike”   A joint bike ride in the city of Lod  


The inaugural "moving together” bike ride took place  in 2013 and was a touching example of true integration between the general population and people with special needs in the city of Lod.
The mayor, YairRavivo Esq., was inspired by the success of the previous event and promised that Lod would make the bike ride a municipal tradition.  And indeed it did: a five kilometer journey, the second annual “Moving together” bike ridetook place on Friday, November 21st 2014.
Approximately two hundred riders participated, including people with special needs, students from Jewish and Arab high schools in Lod, religious and secular residents and municipal employees.
Half of theparticipants with disabilities were people with developmental intellectual disabilities from rehabilitative day care centersin the city. They rode bikes specifically suited for their disabilities.
The journey was part of a city-wide awareness week for people with disabilities. This advocacy week aims to change perceptions towards the special needs community, to create a real understanding of the right to lead a respectful and equal life for those with special needs and to remove the boundaries that exclude them from society.
A special bond was woven between the different institutions that worked together with the municipality of Lod: Bank Hapoalim, The Shalem Foundation, Pesher Association, Kehila Negisha, Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services Divisions of Services for Persons with Development Disabilities and Therapeutic and Educational Departments, the Municipal Sports Department, Akim, the Department of Regular Education and supervision of the Department of Education, the Lod Foundation, and the Department of Social Integration.
The bike path was planned with the help of the Israel Cycling Foundation and Etgarim Association.


The Shalem Foundation took part in the planning and funding of this special event.
A video describing the Bike Ride
Filming and Editing : Adrenalin Company

The characteristics, meanings and implications of Couples Relationships from the perspective of people with intellectual disability living as couples. A comparison of quality of life and self-esteem in couple's relationships versus relationships between friends   Prof. Shunit Reiter, Ran Neuman, Ph.D - University of Haifa, Faculty of Education, Department of Special Education  


This research is supported by a grant from the Shalem Foundation

Just like anyone in the general population, people with intellectual disabilities express interest and longing for intimacy. They have limited opportunities to experience such relationships and there are currently few references to the subject in literature and research.

This study examined the point of view of a couple with intellectual disabilities. The findings indicate the uniqueness of a relationship for people with intellectual disabilities. Amongst the findings is the positive effect of an intimate relationship on the quality of life and self-image of the couple. The research suggests re-characterization of the concept of intimate relationships among people with intellectual disabilities and .defines a number of recommendations for how society can and should help

 ."Finally, it proposed to abandon the question of "whether or not" to support this issue and to focus instead on "how

"Video describing the study March 2014, Filmed in the "Village of Hope

Editor : Shay Slomi 


The Shalem Foundation sends you to the green outdoors   Activities in nature are also for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities  


During Operation Tzok Eitan The Shalem Foundation helped people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through a variety of frameworks. Due to rocket sirens keeping much of the country confined to bomb-shelters, the foundation emphasized outdoor activities. Together with Lotem, a nonprofit who aims to make nature accessible to all, groups of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the South were able to enjoy the great outdoors
They visited sites, greenery and lakes and relaxed in wide open spaces. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like any one of us, have the right to enjoy all the benefits that this beautiful country has to offer
The Shalem Foundation constantly works to make this possible
This movie records a group from Yahad Be’er Sheva on their trip to Ein Hemed National Park in the outskirts of Jerusalem. July, 2014

A special family playing- a clip and instruction kit on the importance of playing in families with children with special needs    


The discovery of a child's disability is an extremely difficult time for a family.  Families must find the best course of care for their child to ensure they are able to reach their full potential. Quite often parents dream that if they follow all of their doctor’s recommendations, they will manage to heal or eliminate his or her disability. This dream has positive aspects and can helpadvance the child's development.However it can also be dangerous and lead to a fixation on curing the disability, resulting in the loss of childhood for the children and put overwhelming pressure on the parents. They must accept that the disability will not pass and that it is now a permanent part of their lives.

The goal of the instruction kit is to encourage families to continue to lead a life fullof fun and curiosity, and not to live merely to “fix” the disability. They should participate in recreational activities, especially playful activities that have a key role in cognitive, emotional and social development, as well as in developing a positive self-image. Essentially, the kit encourages playing for the sake of playing.

Keshar organization, JDC Israel Ashalim, the Shalem Foundation and the National Insurance Institute of Israel collaborated in the production of the film “A Special Family Playing” directed by Eli Tal El. The movie was inspired by Debi Elnatan, a mother of a child with special needs.

To watch the movie with English subtitles press here


At this time the movie can be watched in a variety of languages, and in the future the kit will also be available in multiple languages on our web site.