City Notes: Volunteer with special-needs peers, education minister urges teens

A round up of news from around the nation.

Kibbutz Yotvata (photo credit: PR)
Kibbutz Yotvata
(photo credit: PR)
During a visit to the Negev-based rehabilitative village of ALEH to mark Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, Education Minister Naftali Bennett last week urged teenagers to volunteer to work with children with special needs.
“I want to see children in the seventh, eight and ninth grades and beyond volunteering with special needs children in their communities and here at ALEH Negev to discover how we can become a better society,” he said last Tuesday after touring the southern branch of Israel’s largest network of facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities.
In addition to ALEH’s residential facilities in the Negev, it also has locations in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Gedera, providing more than 700 children and young adults with special services with the aim of allowing them to live a quality life.
“ALEH’s ability to create a bridge between hearts is a tremendous gift to the people of Israel, and I want everyone to enjoy this blessed gift,” Bennett said.
“To accomplish this, we will promote a joint volunteering project with the Education Ministry that will allow us to bridge the gap in Israeli society.”
Family attraction park blooming near Kibbutz Yotvata
In light of the upcoming 60th anniversary of the establishment of Kibbutz Yotvata, the first kibbutz in the southern Arava desert region has created a family-friendly attraction park.
An opening event for the complex is scheduled to take place on March 16.
Known primarily for its dairy production, the kibbutz serves as one of the main stopover points on the journey to and from Eilat.
With more than NIS 15 million in revenues from product sales at the Yotvata Inn, located adjacent to the kibbutz, the Yotvata Park is designed to provide an innovative attraction for visitors.
Along with a taste of the kibbutz’s famous milk products, the Yotvata Park encompasses innovative technology, play areas, extreme sport equipment and unique content to offer families a taste of kibbutz life. The compound also offers visitors games based on renewable energy practices, and an interactive experience allowing tourists to virtually depart on a flight over the desert without leaving the air conditioning.
The project, established by Yotvata with the aid of the Tourism Ministry, cost more than NIS 10 million.
Independent American film festival playing in cinemas
A festival of independent American films is set to take place at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and other cinema houses around the country the first week of March.
The “States of Minds” festival is set to run from March 1 through 6, featuring films produced outside the major studios with focuses on social and cultural issues.
The cinematheques in Haifa and Jerusalem will also take part in the festival.
Six films, including feature films and documentaries, will be screened during the festival: Concussion, The Case Against 8, Meet the Patels, Bone Tomahawk, The Great Gilly Hopkins and Experimenter.
The films primarily revolve around the diversity of American society and the appearance of new social groups that make up the culture and society in the United States.
Thousands converge on Kabbala convention in Tel Aviv
Some 6,000 people attended the 2016 annual Kabbala convention this week in Tel Aviv hosted by the Kabbala La’am association.
Attendees from more than 60 countries came to the three-day event held Tuesday through Thursday at the Tel Aviv Convention Center. Lessons, workshops, meal and cultural activities translated into 12 languages took place throughout the convocation.
Michael Laitman, the founder of the universalist esoteric Kabbala association, gave keynote lectures during the assembly.
Scottish sportsman leads pro-running summit
As part of the week leading up to Friday’s Tel Aviv Samsung Marathon, the Running Pro professional running conference was held Tuesday in Tel Aviv for coaches and leaders in the field of sports in general and running in particular. Scottish professional distance runner Andrew Lemoncello came to Israel on behalf of the McMillan Running group and lectured at the forum.
Medical researchers gather in Galilee
About 200 students and researchers last week attended the fifth-annual “Research Day” at Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee. The event was held for the first time in cooperation with MIGAL – Galilee Research Institute and Tel Hai Academic College.
Other attendees hailed from the Ziv Medical Center, the Galilee Medical Center, the Scottish EMMS Nazareth Hospital and the Holy Family Hospital in Nazareth.