Shalva founder to receive honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan

The organization's band made it to the finals of Israel's reality singing competition Hakochav Haba (Rising Star), which selects Israel’s contestant for the Eurovision musical competition.

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May 28, 2019 14:34
1 minute read.
The eight-member Shalva Band

The eight-member Shalva Band. (photo credit: KESHET)

The founder of Jerusalem's Shalva institute, whose talented band of people with disabilities captured the hearts of Israelis and Eurovision watchers around the world, will receive an honorary doctorate degree from Bar-Ilan University next week.

Kalman Samuels, who was born and raised in Vancouver started the organization with his wife Malkiin 1990. The organization is non-denominational and free of charge and provides therapies and treatments, vocational training, and family support to those with disabilities.

In 1977, tragedy struck the Samuels couple when their baby son Yossi, who had been born healthy, underwent complications due to a faulty vaccine he had received that left him blind and deaf. As the young parents struggled to cope with suddenly having a child with disabilities, Malki vowed that if God ever decided "to help my Yossi, I'll take it upon myself to help other people."

With the help of teachers and programs, Yossi eventually learned to express himself using sign language and even talk. And his mother remembered her promise.

Today, Shalva serves as a national center for around 1,000 children and adults, providing programs that include daycare centers, recreation centers, integration kindergartens, employment training, intervention programs and more. The center also leads extensive research and develops programs that provide a model to organizations around the world on how to properly integrate people with disabilities into society.

The organization's band made it to the finals of Israel's reality singing competition Hakochav Haba (Rising Star), which selects Israel’s contestant for the Eurovision musical competition, but pulled out after realizing performing at the Eurovision would require them to break Shabbat.

They nonetheless got their Eurovision moment when they got to perform at the semifinals.



Bar-Ilan University will also be awarding honorary doctorates to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, philanthropist Miriam Adelson, and others.


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