Kalman Samuels, Founder and President of Shalva. (Facebook) Facebook
Kalman Samuels, Founder and President of Shalva. (Facebook)

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Founder and President of Shalva, a unique association for the inclusion of special needs people into society, received an honorary PhD for his contribution to the Jewish state.

By United With Israel Staff

The founder and President of Shalva, the Israel Association of the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, Kalman Samuels, received an honorary PhD – Doctor Emeritus – from Bar Ilan University.

The award was in recognition of Shalva’s immense contributions to Israeli society.

Samuels founded Shalva in 1990 to provide transformative care for individuals with disabilities, empower their families and promote social inclusion.

Thousands of people with disabilities have benefited from Shalva’s comprehensive life-cycle programs, which encompass therapies, education, social and recreational activities, employment training, independent living facilities and family support.

This special recognition comes after Samuels, along with his wife Malki, spent decades of hard work nurturing and providing hope for children with disabilities and their families.

Shalva posted on their Facebook page, “Thank you Bar Ilan University for this incredible honor. We are so appreciative and especially awed by your embrace of a better, more inclusive society for all.” Congratulations may be sent to: info@shalva.org

This past year, Shalva took the world by storm when a musical group associated with it, the Shalva Band, auditioned to represent Israel at EuroVision 2019. The band, whose performers have a range of special needs, delivered a heartwarming performance that landed them in the final competition.

Since band members keep Shabbat, and would have had to perform on the holy day during Eurovision, they declined to participate in the competition.

Much effort was exerted to allow the Shalva Band to keep Shabbat and perform Saturday, after sundown. However, the efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

Due to the band’s enormous popularity and people’s appreciation of the fact they chose Sabbath observance over competing in Eurovison, the group was asked to make a special appearance during the event. The Shalva Band’s rendition of “A Million Dreams” got the Eurovision audience on its feet and moved audiences all over the world.

Watch the Shalva Band’s breathtaking performance of “A Million Dreams” at EuroVision 2019.