(photo credit: Courtesy)
Shanghai's 2,000-strong Jewish community has raised more than $20,000 to support Israel's delegation to the Special Olympic games, which are being held in the city from October 2 to 11.
The community, which is headed by Maurice Ohana, has also provided the 38 Israeli athletes with uniforms and sports shoes, and will host the 83-member delegation in its succa and ensure that those who require it have kosher food.
"We are delighted that Israel is participating in this important event," Ohana told The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview on Tuesday. "We are happy that there will be so many Israelis visiting Shanghai."
Taly Kornhouser, the chairwoman of the delegation and the executive chairwoman of the Israeli Special Olympic Association's board of directors, said that while the team had no sponsor, the support of the Shanghai Jewish community had been overwhelming.
"So far, the community has been extremely warm, calling us all the time and asking us what our needs are," said Kornhouser, who will travel with the athletes to the Chinese metropolis on Thursday night. "We have been invited to home hospitality, a meal in the community succa. They are all just waiting until we arrive."
Kornhouser, whose 19-year-old daughter Lynn will represent Israel in the table tennis tournament, said the sports program had boosted Lynn's confidence and independence.
Aimed at individuals aged eight and up with intellectual disabilities, the Special Olympics was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in the United States in 1962. Its goal is to embrace the diversity of all individuals' abilities and to celebrate all differences.
More than 7,000 athletes from 169 countries will compete in the games. "We are hoping to be emissaries for Israel," said Kornhouser.