The Cedarhurst-based Kulanu Academy will partner with the Jewish National Fund-USA to expand Kulanu Ba’aretz, a three-month vocational-educational study program in Israel for special needs people 17 to 22.
Up to 20 students can go to Kibbutz Shluchot in the Bet Shean Valley for a semester working, studying and exploring for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years.
Participants can grow physically, emotionally and socially in a safe environment with other students.
“After 10 years of operating the Kulanu Ba’aretz program, we are excited to expand its growth via our partnership with Jewish National Fund,” said Kulanu Academy’s Executive Director, Dr. Beth Raskin. “Our program provides the opportunity for participants to acquire skills and levels of independence that they could not normally attain in their home environments.”
Yossi Kahana, director of Jewish National Fund’s Task Force on Disabilities, explained the reason for getting involved. “This new partnership is part of the Jewish National Fund’s focus on improving the quality of life in Israel for all its citizens, ensuring that no member of Israeli society is left behind,” he said.
The program’s curriculum includes, vocational work such as cooking, cleaning and animal care, course work in money management, social skills, basic Hebrew and more, touring Israel, extra-curricular sports, dance and arts and crafts and other activities such as horseback riding or swimming.
“Being in Israel on my own helped me prove to myself that I can accomplish anything that I want to do. Living in Israel helped prepare me to become independent in many ways, a lot of which I have implemented since being home,” said David Berglas, a 2014 graduate of Kulanu Ba’aretz. “And, the kibbutz environment opened the door for me to meet many new people as well as make long-term friends.”