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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chesed Mission 2016/5776: Day 2

Today we accomplished multiple feats of chesed on our first full day of chesed beginning with a visit to the Ilanot School. This school focuses specifically on helping students with Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities. We interacted with the children, playfully entertaining them with jokes and anecdotes. We were also treated to an exclusive performance by the Ilanot choir, which showcased numerous songs which they have been practicing all year. After giving the students a vibrant applause and our final farewells, we headed to our next destination, the Haddasah Hospital in Jerusalem.
At the Haddasah Hospital, we each visited patients in the pediatric ward, greeting them with smiles and presents for the beaming children. Each patient was given a present, reciprocating the gift with large smiles and hugs from the children in the hospital. These small acts of kindness warmed our hearts, helping us appreciate the potential each of us has to bring happiness and joy to others.
After departing from the hospital we headed to the Shalva Children's Center, which provides high quality care for individuals with disabilities, empowering their families and promoting social inclusion. This organization is focused on caring for and nurturing children with special needs, also helping alleviate pressure from parents of these children and provide them with an opportunity to care for their homes without worrying about the wellbeing of their children. After a tour of the facility we held a dance party for the children, dancing with them for nearly an hour amid roaring music and exuberant celebration. We immediately saw the acute effect we had on the children, bringing smiles and fun to their day.
Our last stop for the night was to hear from and interact with injured Israeli soldiers, though an organization called Tikvot. Tikvot aims to rehabilitate injured soldiers and help them lead productive and proactive lives. We heard the stories of various injured soldiers, and the emotional and physical scars that were left on them. The soldiers also described the profound effect of Tikvot on their recovery, and the way the organization helped them regain control over their lives and overcome their grim injuries. We ended by rock-climbing with the soldiers, showing our appreciation for their sacrifices and contributions to the welfare of the state of Israel and the Jewish nation as a whole.  ~Shlomo Husni, Class of 2017