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. 
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


Singlehood Phenomenon among Adults with ID: Psychological Theories (Attachment, Intimacy), Modern Theories (Choice/Lack of Chance) or Emotional and Social Difficulties   Prof. Hephzibah and Hagit Haguel, Bar-Ilan University, 2015  

This study was completed with the assistance of the Shalem Foundation

The main purpose of the current research was to examine the reasons for the singlehood phenomenon among adults with intellectual disability (ID), with reference to psychological theories, as well as modern theories, such as 'Choice and Lack of Chance' and the 'selective/adaptation mechanism' which explains singlehood in the population with typical development (TD).
Marriage and singlehood are interpreted differently for people with intellectual disability than for the general society. The prevailing attitude towards those with mental disability regarding marriage is that they have capabilities that do not reflect the abilities of the majority of adults with intellectual disabilities. Therefore, keeping adults with intellectual disabilities alone without spouses is perceived as a normative phenomenon. The present study breaks existing myths about this this issue
This study aimed to determine if singlehood in the population with ID is caused by either: 1. difficulty with the skills required for a couple relationship and/or the ability create intimacy and/or 2. Attitude towards couple relationships and marriage.
The goal was to investigate whether there is a difference between single adults and people in a couple relationships with ID, and in their ability to create an intimate relationship and to examine why many adults with intellectual disabilities are single.
So far, various studies conducted in Israel show that people with intellectual disabilities can marry and live in harmony, and that the divorce rate among families that both parents have intellectual disabilities lower than in the population at large.
This study argues that people with intellectual disabilities are able to marry and begin a family and explains why they often do not do so until now. Assuming that intimacy improves the quality of life, the desire of parents to children with intellectual disabilities to form a relationship is understandable whether it is realized into a marriage or not. Another finding indicates for those who are in a relationship, their self-confidence and aptitude are higher.
Almost all participants in the study (99%) expressed a desire to maintain couple relationships. They all expressed a need to make a connection to a member of the opposite sex, and were aware of the contribution that a couple relationship make to the quality of life. Moreover, 74% of the participants expressed a desire to formalize the relationship and marry. In this respect there was no difference between the singles and people in a couple relationships. In addition, the 'institutionalization' of the relationship was for people with intellectual disabilities an important step towards independence and autonomy and most of them are want to get married

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



Life Cycle and Aging among People with Down Syndrome and Their Parents This study was completed with the assistance of the Shalem Foundation   Dr. Ariel Tenenbaum, Prof. Yaakov Bachner and Prof. Zeev Miner, Hebrew University of Jerusalem , 2015  

This study was completed with the assistance of the Shalem Foundation

The increase in life expectancy of people with Down syndrome raises various challenges for them and their families. In the present study the concept of aging and old age and the effects and implications, in people with Down syndrome and their parents are discussed. The study examined how coping and understanding of the concept of aging in people with the condition themselves, and their parents aging and struggling with their child growing up in parallel. Interviews two hours in length were conducted for 19 women (average age 35) and 14 men (average age 39) with Down syndrome, of which 11 live in their parent's homes and the rest live in communal housing and hostels. The issues raised during the interviews were mapped and eight key issues were discovered: relations with close family, social life, relationships, going out to independent living, quality of life, lifestyle, perception of aging itself and concern for the future.

Video Describing the study, January 2016, Editor : Shay Shlomi


!United in Movement   The Shalem Fund encourages and supports Physical activity for people with IDD and their active participation in sports initiatives within the community  

The Shalem Foundation encourages and supports physical activities for people with IDD and their active participation in sports initiatives within the community. Sport is currently one of the most popular leisure activities amongst the youth and adult populations in Israel

The average life expectancy of people in Israel is 81 years old. However, for a person with developmental disability, it is 61 years old (Review of Social Services, Ministry of Social Affairs, 2014). People with developmental disabilities are proportionally more overweight than members of the general population.

In response to this reality, over the past year the Shalem Foundation has supported and initiated a number of sports programs for people with IDD. Moreover, The Shalem Foundation has decided  to launch a call for proposals targeted to increase initiatives and actions of physical activity in this field.


Editor : Shay Shlomi., 2016

Unique Training Course in Disability Awareness for teen volunteers in Modiin Illit    

Special training for young volunteers in services for children with special needs in the city.

In Modiin Illit there are dozens of teens aged 15-18 who volunteer in a variety of services for children with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities. Some of the girls volunteer with families that have a child with special needs.

The Shalem Foundation and the Jerusalem District Welfare Supervision responded to the request from the City of Modi'in to develop a unique training course adapted to the culture and age of the volunteers.

Livnat, Field Coordinator of people with intellectual disability in the local council and director of the Family Center, wrote: "There are no words to express for this amazing course, thank you very much to the Shalem Fund, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Service and the Magid Institute for this amazing program. I must share that the feedback I received already after two sessions showed me how effective, professional and empowering this training was. Especially the smart and rich combination of lectures, with the mother's story and the Playback Theatre "Nfeca Mina" which enriched their world. They feel that they have a place for learning and an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers, simply amazing!"

The Professional Development Department at the Magid Institute, coordinated by Lilith Wolfzon - Shvicky implemented the course for the Shalem foundation.