Special needs groups travel Israel
A unique Birthright Israel bus toured Israel this month, as Amazing Israel and the Canada Israel Experience ran the "No Limits" trip for 11 wheelchair user participants from North America, their caregivers and 4 wheelchair user IDF soldiers.
The itinerary included rappelling in Northern Israel, rafting down the Jordan River and sailing in the Mediterranean, exploring the Golan Heights from ascending Masada to floating in the Dead Sea.
A trip highlight, rappelling down Mount Gilboa, participants soared down the mountain, assisted by soldiers from the Israeli Navy and volunteers from Etgarim, an Israeli nonprofit.
"I proved to myself and anyone who doubted that I could rappel down a mountain- despite using crutches or a wheelchair," said Dodi Blumstein, a participant from New Jersey. "This has always been my dream and finally it is coming true."
Other special needs trips which recently returned from Israel included "Yachad" for individuals with both physical and cognitive/developmental disabilities; the "Friendship Trip" for those with high functioning developmental disabilities; and a trip for the hearing impaired. Additional funding for this trip was made possible by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.