JERUSALEM MAYOR Nir Barkat attends the opening of the Bistro Harutzim special-needs café..
(photo credit: SHMAIA LEVY)
Bistro Harutzim, a Jerusalem café that employs special-needs adults and is run by the SHEKEL organization, officially opened its doors Thursday afternoon, in a festive ceremony at which Mayor Nir Barkat spoke.
“When I see the smiles on the faces of the people here, the feeling of satisfaction and pride that such a bistro has opened in Jerusalem makes my day,” he told the guests. Approximately 70 percent of the café’s workers have various special needs.
“There is no doubt that a place like this changes the thinking of people who see it,” the mayor said. “It’s a breakthrough psychologically and it will open new horizons” for those who work at the cafe and for those who frequent it. “I wish the cafe great success, and we will patronize it both as private citizens and for municipality functions. I want to see other enterprises like this open in Jerusalem.”
He praised the public-private partnership initiated by SHEKEL, which supported the opening of Bistro Harutzim.
The café, located at 11 Yad Harutzim Street in Talpiot, features a varied menu, which includes pasta, salads, pizza and pastries, and is kosher le’mehadrin.
Representatives of several organizations and branches of government that helped in the development of the café, including the National Insurance Institute, the Welfare and Social Services Ministry and the Jerusalem Fund, were present at the opening.
SHEKEL provides community services for people with special needs, including employment and housing. It was founded in 1979 by Joint-Israel, the Social Services Ministry, the City of Jerusalem and other professionals to enable people with disabilities to enjoy a better quality of life and integrate naturally into the community.
The new café joins SHEKEL’s crafts and gift shop and a building housing several workshops, all at the same location.
“This is not a weak population, we just need to give them the opportunity and they can do anything you can imagine,” said Clara Feldman, SHEKEL’s CEO.