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. 
A special brainstorming session on feeding people with IDD    

 Feeding people with IDD is one of the most difficult tasks in the role of direct caregivers in frameworks for nursing cases and is also one of the most important interactions between the caregiving staff and the care recipients in such frameworks.
A brainstorming session on feeding people with IDD was held on July 14 at the Beit Doron center in Ramat Gan. This session was part of the process of applying the findings of research studies, with the aim of determining how much it is possible to ease the burden on the caregivers of helpless population groups in general and persons with IDD in particular, specifically in regarding to feeding.
The brainstorming session was led by Malka from the AWARE Institute, which also carried out the research study. Conducted in a round-table format, it dealt with the various aspects of feeding that are discussed in research studies: gentleness, a positive attitude, personal contact, involvement, mealtime as a social and learning event, pleasure, and so on.
Counselors and caregivers from various community settings were seated around each table, as were the directors of those settings and caregivers in the health services field. All the participants focused on ideas and examples for promoting these aspects in the daily routine of caregiving for people with IDD.
The results of the brainstorming session will lead to recommendations to be applied in places where people with IDD are fed, so as to make life easier for both the caregiving teams and the recipients of their services.
Sharon Ganot, Director of Information at the Shalem Foundation, said, “The session that we held was a fascinating experience. It enabled us to learn about new insights, opportunities for breakthroughs, and innovations in the field. Food is an essential subject in our culture; the meeting with professionals in the field and with people with IDD over the various issues connected with food showcased the various emotions, needs and desires associated with the topic of food.”
The research and its implementation process are being conducted with the close collaboration of representatives of the Community Services Department of the Division of Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities at the Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry.
The representatives are:
• Shoshi Aspeler, coordinating nurse in the field of community nursing care, Health Services Unit
• Sigal Yisraeli, National Nutrition Supervisor, Health Services Unit
• Nili Ben-Dor, National Information Management and Instruction Supervisor
• Anat Frank, National Supervisor for Advancement Programs, Analysis, Implementation and Advancement Department
The Shalem Foundation is a partner in the initiation, operation and funding of both research studies and their implementation.


Israel’s first training kitchen for children with special needs is established at the Taf Lataf School    

 A state-of-the-art training kitchen, the first of its kind in Israel, has been established at the Taf Lataf School for children with special needs, which is partially funded by the Shalem Foundation.
The purpose of the training kitchen is to enable the pupils to gain experience in working – with guidance and supervision – in a kitchen to prepare them for independent life as adults, provide them with training for future employment and teach them motor, language and learning skills.
The training kitchen at Taf Lataf, which was built specially for children with moderate to profound IDD, is adapted for children with physical disabilities.

The kitchen is fully equipped with work surfaces, gas ranges, electrical appliances and utensils that have been adapted for accessibility and safety. This “smart” kitchen is operated with iPads.
Professional staff are always with the pupils in the kitchen. Under their guidance, the children prepare dishes according to their level of ability and gain experience in peeling pre-cut fruits and vegetables or shredding them for fresh or cooked salads. They also learn how to bake cakes and cookies, prepare desserts and confections, and fry omelettes, to name only a few examples.
In addition to cooking skills, the children also learn the rules of cleanliness and safety and acquire proper work habits. In addition, they develop fundamental ADL (activities of daily living) skills.
The staff at Taf Lataf, which invests a great deal of time and energy in preparing the pupils in various fields, places considerable emphasis on the basic skills needed for proper social and behavioral functioning and on basic ADL skills. The goal is to prepare the children for a life of optimal quality and as full as possible within the community where they will reside as adults.
The Shalem Foundation is a partner in the establishment of this training kitchen.


Anchor for Life — Sea Scouts; A Sailing Competition on the Yarkon River; Community Social Projects    

 Approximately three years ago, the Shalem Foundation set up a special way to provide assistance, among its other activities: by supporting community projects on the periphery and in the regional councils.
The goal of this track is to support social activities that integrate people with developmental intellectual disabilities, who live in their parents’ homes, in community life.
Anchor for Life — Sea Scouts is an educational maritime program that is given by the Beit She’an municipality in cooperation with the Sea Scouts, the maritime branch of the Israel Scouts.
The founder and manager of the program is Mr. Meir Gross.
The goals of the program are to enable the participants to improve their self-image; find strength under pressure; enhance social, interpersonal, and group skills, experience challenging and fun athletic activity, and integrate into the community.
Meetings take place once a week for two hours in the scouting group on Moshavat kinneret. The program has been running for several years in scouting groups all over Israel, mostly in the central region.
The partner organizations in the project are the Israel Scouts, the Shalem Foundation, and the Golani School in Beit She’an.
The program’s target population is 18 participants aged 15 to 21 who live with their parents and attend a day center.
If you have creative ideas that fit the criteria in the attached link, please feel free to contact us.
The video shows the spectacular competition that takes place at the end of each year.
The Etgarim Association participates in the competition — a peak event that is a foundational and empowering moment for the young people, their parents, the volunteers, and the staff.

Filming and editing: Shai Shlomi, 2016



A prospective study on Developmental Delay among preterm infants   Prof. Nurit Yirmiya, Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2014  

 This research is supported by a grant from the Shalem Foundation

In this study, we followed the development of preterm born infants and a comparison group of full-terms during the first year of life. The first aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of developmental delay (DD) among preterm infants and to identify perinatal risk factors associated with DD. An additional aim was to identify early behavioral characteristics and developmental trajectories that distinguish between preterm infants with and without DD. Finally, we examined maternal state of resolution regarding the preterm birth and the contribution of maternal and infant characteristics to the early maternal resolution. One hundred and four preterm and 37 full-term infants participated in developmental assessments from hospital discharge through 12 months of age (corrected for prematurity). Following the developmental assessment at 12 months, 12 (11%) preterm infants were diagnosed with DD, whereas none of the full-term infants were diagnosed with DD. Preterm infants diagnosed with DD had significantly lower gestational age, lower Apgar scores and a higher medical risk score than preterm infants without DD. The developmental abilities of the preterm infants with DD were significantly lower than those of preterm infants without DD at 1, 4 and 8 months, with significant increase in the gap between groups over time. Finally, when examining maternal resolution with the preterm birth, 38% of the mothers attained early resolution, at 1 month corrected age. Mothers whose pregnancies were at high-risk, and who eventually had an opportunity to prepare to the preterm birth were more likely to attain resolution than mothers who gave birth preterm with no previous complications and thus were more likely to be surprised by the preterm birth and to not have at all, or have a very short time to prepare for it.

For Full text of the research in hebrew press here

A Video describing the research , Editor : Shay Shlomi, 2016


Assessment of usage patterns and needs of persons with an intellectual disability in Facebook   Carmit-Noa Shpigelman, Ph.D, University of Haifa, 2015  

This research was supported by a grant from Shalem Fund

Participation in social networking sites has considerable potential for persons with an intellectual disability (ID) in terms of creating communication channels, maintaining social relationships, developing new relationships, improving interpersonal communication skills, getting updated information and spending their leisure time.
These opportunities can contribute to the quality of life of persons with ID. To date, research in social media has not included persons with ID. Therefore, the present study aimed to present the voices of person with ID and to describe their usage experience in Facebook. Personal interviews and observations were conducted with 20 persons with ID who use Facebook and 16 supporters, family members or service providers, in order to learn about the participants' usage patterns, needs, challenges,
risks and coping strategies. The findings indicated that the participants use Facebook as the general population i.e., at least once a day and to maintain social relationships.
The participation in Facebook contributed to their subjective well-being and personal empowerment. The participants primarily used visual functions such as watching or posting photos and video clips. Furthermore, the majority used Facebook safely, although they encountered difficulties in understanding Facebook language and the related risks. The findings highlight the need of persons with ID to expand their social circles through the virtual world. This study has practical implications in terms of developing training and support programs that make the information in Facebook more accessible for this population.

For the Full Text in Hebrew press here 


A video describing the research, Editor : Shay Shlomy, 2016



Boaz' world : Synagogue, family and art   Just like everyone else: interviews with our most precious partners  

 Boaz is 50 years old and has 3 sisters and 7 brothers and loves to go with them to the synagogue. He works in the Maas in Ra'anana and during his free time he paints, walks in the Moshav and listens to the Israeli singer Shlomo Artzi. Click here to meet Boaz and hear about his life and experiences

Editor : Shay Shlomi, 2015



A Midsummer Night's Dream" - Together with Shakespeare on Stage"    

A co-production of the Shekel Association- Community Services for Special Needs and the management of the Acting Studio produce by Nissan Nativ in Jerusalem.
The original play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Shakespeare has been adapted into a light and entertaining show directed and produced by Yitzhak Laor, to the sound of the original music by Ofer Shriki.
The Show's narrative features a birthday, magic potion, and the stories of a fairy king and queen.
The production is designed for the whole family including children aged six and above. A traveling production was adapted for performances in schools and in public spaces around the country.
This project is an exciting opportunity for the general population to become familiar with the capabilities of adults with special needs, who appear on a professional stage and have received positive reviews and much applause.

The Shalem Foundation funded the show to perform for various audiences throughout the country

To watch a video documenting rehearsals and scenes from the show, click here

Initiation ceremony of "Be'er Bat Sheva" (The well of Bat-Sheva), an Employment Center for Women and "Kishurit" Nursing Day Care Center for Women in B'nei Brak    

The outstanding "Be'er Bat Sheva" center was inaugurated on the 10th of July 2015, as an Employment Center for Women alongside "Kishurit" - a nursing day care center for women in the city of Bnei Brak.
The Center integrates approximately 150 women with developmental disabilities in various employment activities, creating arts and crafts products and gifts which are sold commercially, rehabilitation programs, music, social and enrichment activities.
Ohel Sara Association has been providing a continuum of services in the fields of education and welfare for young people and adults with intellectual disabilities for over 40 years.
More than 460 women and children from the age of 6 until old age receive services in schools, employment centers and a community housing system.To watch a video that tells the life story of three girls served by Ohel Sara Association, click here
The center was built with the cooperation of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Shalem Foundation, and The Fund for Development of Services for People with Disabilities at Social Security, the Bnei Brak Municipality and philanthropic funds raised by the Ohel Sara Association.

To view a short film of the life stories of three women from Ohel Sara click hear

Medical first aid, routine and emergency situations for people with Intellectual Disabilities    

 The Division for People with Developmental Disabilities at the Ministry of Social Affairs attributes great importance to the provision of medical aid, in both routine and emergency situations for people with intellectual disabilities
The Division's management guideline requires that during all activities and in all provided services, there should be a qualified person with a valid first aid certificate.
In addition, the 2007 law placing automated CPR devices in public places states that all service centers need a life-saving defibrillation device. It was therefore decided to equip all day centers with this life-saving device and to train the staff to use it. Accelerating this decision was the fact that coronary heart disease is one of the main causes of death in Israel and the Western world, and people with developmental disabilities are more predisposed to these conditions and diseases.

The Shalem Foundation joined this important initiative and funded first aid courses and defibrillator purchases of approximately 150 facilities across the country


Awareness Week - Promoting awareness and inclusion of people with special needs in the city of Ramat Gan    

 During the month of October 2015 the city of Ramat Gan held an Awareness week to promote People with Special Needs. The weeklong campaign was initiated by the Municipality of Ramat Gan and led by the city's administration, in collaboration with various departments in the municipality, services for people with special needs within the city, The Community Service – The department of people with developmental disabilities and the support of the Shalem Foundation.
Various events were introduced to raise awareness among students, municipal employees, local residents and others, exposing the population to people with special needs promoting their rights, inclusion and enhancing joint partnerships.
Among the activities a 'Happening' was held at the National Park for children with special needs aged 3-14 and their families together with other school children. "Open houses" were held in: The Employment Center (MAAS Ramat Gan), The Hostel 'Ye'elim' and other Family Centers in order to familiarize oneself with the various services in the community.
The play "Simple Dreams" was performed for high school students, and joint physical challenging activities were conducted at the park and incorporated regular high school youth and youth with special needs aged 15-22.
In addition information and data on this subject was handed out to all municipal workers, advocacy sheets were distributed in schools and youth groups, the city administration signed a treaty endorsing the rights of people with disabilities and this issue was discussed in the city council's meetings.
The week was a true success and the events were significant for the people with disabilities and their families, the residents of the city, municipal workers, students and all that took part in the various events.
The Shalem Foundation was a key partner and supported activities throughout Awareness Week.


An adapted version of the Management Standards for directors of Employment Centers for People with Developmental Disabilities was launched to improve services    

 The 'Standard Approach and Guidelines ' is a modern approach to quality management which enables an organization an effective and gradual implementation to significantly improve the overall activities, effectiveness and efficiency of the organization. This Standard was adapted and designed to continually improve the quality of service provided by the Centers of Employment (MAAS) to people with developmental disabilities.
The Online package contains everything a manager of a "Reshet center " needs in order to achieve certification to ISO 9001 Standard
The package is a product of an initiative of a group Employment Centers (Maas'im) managers who attended a course held in 2006 and chose to take part in writing the standard. The course was conducted through the funding of the Shalem foundation and Tevet, JDC-Israel. The course was professionally facilitated by Danny Katz and Dr. Isaac Tammuz.

The Shalem fund finances the course and supported writing and printing the guideline

To view the ISO 9001 Package documents in Hebrew Click here

How Social Workers and Other Stakeholders Perceive the Marriage of Women of Normal Intelligence to Men with Intellectual Disabilities   Asmaa Abu Alaola, Supervisor: Dr. Ronnie Strier, University of Haifa, 2015  

Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master's degree

This work was supported by a grant from Shalem Fund

In recent years, there have been many discussions among policy makers, social service professionals and academics on the issues and rights of marriage amongst people with intellectual disabilities. These discussions focused almost exclusively on marriages where both spouses are with intellectual disabilities, and ignored the fact that some marriages are mixed and with one partner with normal intelligence . This pioneering study conducted in the Arab-Muslim society in Israel researches the motives and context of women marrying a husband with an intellectual disability .
The marriage of women of normal intelligence to mentally impaired men is a comparatively common phenomenon in traditional Arab society in Israel. An earlier exploratory study examining these women's perceptions of the phenomenon (Aziri-Zidan, 2008) found that they regarded their decision to marry these men both as an expression of the social subjugation and as an expression of their part in quest for freedom of unmarried women in traditional Arab society, thus perceiving their condition as a means for achieving autonomy without overstepping the normative boundaries of gender and religion in their society .

This study inquired into how social workers and other stakeholders within the community perceive the phenomenon. The findings are presented in five main themes: the characteristics of this problematic marital model; its roots and reasons; prevailing attitudes of the interviewees; the role of the welfare services; recommendations for dealing with the issue. The findings provide several complementary insights into the phenomenon, suggesting an alternative interpretation of this model of marriage.
The overriding goal of the study aims to deepen awareness about this phenomenon and to expand the basis of the existing knowledge, as well examination of the institutional and legal system and its ability to protect people both women and people with intellectual disabilities within the Arab-Muslim minority in Israel. 

A video describing the research, Editor : Shay Shlomy, 2015