Rabbi Chaim Perkal, Founder & CEO of Alei Siach, the premier outreach organization to the special needs community in metro Jerusalem, escorted Dr. Joshua Weinstein, Founder & CEO of ICare4Autism on a recent tour of Alei Siach’s state-of-the-art Rehabilitative Occupation Center, where they observed how young adults with Down’s Syndrome and autism were being imbued with various job-training skills, based on their various levels of physical and mental abilities.
During the course of the tour Dr. Weinstein interacted with enthusiastic autistic men who were learning how to mold their clay creations into artistic displays that could be sold to local merchants. Others were learning how to cut cardboard and paper shapes that could be used for festive Chanukah decorations.
In a nearby room, several young ladies with Down’s Syndrome explained to Dr. Weinstein that their current job, filling bottles of colorful confectioners sugar for a commercial baking company, was a fulfilling experience. “It’s fun coming to work every day and learning new skills,” one of the young ladies remarked to Dr. Weinstein.
Alei Siach provides specialized one-to-one job training skills to hundreds of people who are able to earn a modest wage, whether they work within the confines of the Rehabilitative Occupation Center, or in various job settings, ranging from grocery stores to the Knesset’s mail room.
Dr. Weinstein capped off his visit to Alei Siach by following Rabbi Perkal to the roof where they were witness to a fascinating work in progress, a self-made ‘hothouse’ where a number of special needs young ladies were planting a variety of spices, fruits and vegetables. “The object of this program is to provide these special ladies with a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Once they experience the beauty of how they were able to make something grow and then bring it to the marketplace where they can earn money for their efforts, it creates happiness and a sense of motivation,” an Alei Siach special education professional explained.
Impressed by what he had experienced, Dr. Weinstein thanked Rabbi Perkal for his hospitality and expressed an interest in Alei Siach’s on-going programs. Said Dr. Weinstein, “What Rabbi Perkal and Alei Siach have accomplished is nothing short of miraculous. They can be proud of the fact that they are providing revolutionary solutions, where none existed up until a few years ago.”