New center promotes marriage for disabled people

Ruderman Family Foundation and Feuerstein Institute launch center to provide disabled people with tools to start a family.

Friendship park, Ra'anana 521 (photo credit: Courtesy of Beit Issie Shapiro)
Friendship park, Ra'anana 521
(photo credit: Courtesy of Beit Issie Shapiro)
The Ruderman Family Foundation and the Feuerstein Institute, both of which assist people with disabilities, have launched a center dedicated to “granting people with disabilities the tools and knowledge to develop relationships and start a family.”
The center, known as Hazon, is scheduled to open in Jerusalem this week. The announcement was made during a conference last week in the presence of Education Minister Shai Piron, Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharar, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and CEO of the National Insurance Institute Shlomo Mor-Yosef.
“In Israel there are 300,000 people with disabilities and they too deserve the opportunity to establish a home and develop relationships,” said Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein, vice president of the Feuerstein Institute, who opened the event.
“Our goal is to give them the tools [in a multi-stage training program] to do this and accompany them before and after they are married,” he said, adding that the Feuerstein Institute sees relationships and maintaining a stable family as significant milestones in people’s rehabilitation.
In a statement the institute said it has “extensive experience in helping people with disabilities start a family and in recent years, more than 20 couples have met, married and established a stable family home through the Institute.” The new center aims at “turning the possibility of people with disabilities getting married into a reality.” This includes teaching the basic skills essential for beginning a family, and establishing a community of young couples.
“Everyone in Israel has the right to build a home and start a family, and no one has the right to prevent them from doing so,” Piron said at the launching event.
“Professor Feuerstein’s belief in people has proven itself over the years, much more than scientific studies available to date,” he said.
Barkat also expressed his enthusiasm for the opening of the Hazon center, calling it “another breakthrough in our – Jerusalem’s – commitment to people with disabilities.”
President of the Ruderman Family Foundation Jay Ruderman said relationships and marriage are among the most important events in one’s life and people with disabilities “deserve the joy that comes from being with a partner.”
“It is our duty to help them build a home,” he said.
The center, which will open its doors ahead of Lag Ba’omer, is expected to start operating its program with an initial group of 60 participants.