Mayor of Toronto Inaugurates Therapeutic Park at ALUT Beersheba.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
On November 14th, in the course of his visit to Israel, John H. Tory, the Mayor of Toronto, took part in a moving ceremony to inaugurate a therapeutic park for young people with autism at ALUT
House in Beersheba. The park was dedicated to the memory of his father, John A. Tory, and its creation was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Toronto community at the JNF Toronto 2011 Negev Dinner held in John H. Tory's honour.
When John Tory rose to speak, he talked with emotion about his father’s life and work, and his listeners were moved by his words.
“I am proud to be a part of this project, as it means that our family name is here, in the State of Israel, hopefully forever," he said. "This will give me good reason to return here, to Be'er Sheva and to this garden - to bring my family here, my children and my grandchildren, so that they realize the importance of the friendship
between our two countries, and so that they understand how a place like this empathizes with human beings, wherever they may be, and serves as shining example."
ALUT Resources Development Director Rachel Rosenman provided some background to the Beersheba facility: “About sixteen young adults live here in houses inside the park. This is actually a community center that is also a place of work that the youngsters attend in the mornings. They work during the day, then return to their homes nearby in the afternoon.”
Noy Kopel, a 26-year-old resident who works in the central kitchen at the Iris Village, moved her listeners at the ceremony when she spoke about her daily life at the center, of the wages she receives, of her pleasure in her work and of the free time it leaves her. She concluded her speech by addressing the guests directly and thanking them in English. Her words were received with thunderous applause, and Toronto Mayor John Tory declared her speech to be the most important of the event.
KKL-JNF Fundraising Director Zeev Kedem
spoke about KKL-JNF’s activities: “We are engaged in dozens of projects for the benefit of the general public – Jewish, Arab and Christian
. We work on numerous projects all over Israel, and you are a part of this. We could not implement these projects without the support of people all over the world, and this is an opportunity to thank you once again, Mr. Mayor John Tory.”
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