Donate Now!

A Day to Network...and to Dream

Reshet program participants networking with adult volunteers 

Israel Elwyn (IE) has programs providing services to people with disabilities from early childhood through retirement.  IE’s Reshet (Hebrew for “network”) program is for teenagers with physical and sensory disabilities and diminished cognitive skills who are students in the regular, non-special education system.  This extracurricular program aims to prepare 16-to-18-year olds for independence while providing them with a broad range of experiences and extensive exposure to opportunities in the post-high school world –- military or national service, employment and continuing education, as well as interaction with the community.  

It focuses on three components:  

1)      Society, the community and me, which deals with personal and interpersonal skills;
2)      Preparation for meaningful service (military or civilian); and
3)      Preparation for employment. 

Reshet’s activities provide the participants with the tools to make knowledgeable choices about their future.


L-r:  Danny Gruner, Haim Zafrani, Becky Seidman, David Regev

On the first day of the Israeli school system’s Passover vacation, when most teenagers were deep in their Facebook and WhatsApp groups, 52 participants in IE’s Reshet program from Ashdod, Ashkelon and Be’er Sheba traveled to Jerusalem.  There they spent the day at a Networking Event at IE’s Academy for Training, Support & Guidance, where they practiced what they had learned over the last year about preparing for employment (resumes, job interviews, employer-employee relations, etc.) and employment aspiration – creating a picture of the type of career they hope to have.

The first part of the event was devoted to a networking game.  After being divided into teams, each individual had the opportunity to practice engaging in small talk, building self-confidence, and exploring their career options for the future.  They presented their employment aspiration to the dozens of adult volunteers who came to hear them, provide feedback and award tokens according to their success as measured by effort.  The most successful team received a prize.  At the game’s conclusion, the teens said it had been a significant experience that gave them a feeling of personal empowerment and team building.  One said, “It isn’t every day that you present yourself to so many adults.”

“Career – Why Now?” was the subject of the panel that followed the networking game.  The panel’s participants were Mr. David Regev, Ombudsman for The Second Authority for Television & Radio and previously a social affairs reporter for one of Israel’s leading daily newspapers; Mr. Danny Gruner, who works in the competitive job market with the assistance of IE support services; Ms. Becky Seidman, who was born with damage to her spinal cord and hopes to start studying sign language interpretation at Bar-Ilan University; and Mr. Haim Zafrani, who has not allowed his having been born without hearing to stand in his way.  All spoke about their life experiences and gave the teenagers important tips as they transition into adulthood.

The day concluded with musical performances in memory of one of Israel’s leading singers and songwriters, Arik Einstein.

L-r:  Sal'it Inbar - JDC-Ashalim Turning Point representative, Ali Atuana
networking game winner, Danit Geva - Reshet Be'er Sheba coordinator

Below are the remarks of some of the participating high school students:

Ali Atuana, a sophomore who was one of the winners in the networking game, said that he has “participated in the Reshet program for several months.  It has given me much in the fields of social and community self-empowerment and inclusion in employment.  What I’ve learned through Reshet has sharpened my thinking about career and about planning significant military service for myself, as well as about the society in which I live.  Our preparations for the networking game have given us real tools for life and I’m pleased to have won the game.”

Chen Chayut, a junior, said that for her, “Reshet is first and foremost a group, a place to share the many misgivings teens have in this electronic age, when it’s difficult to speak.  We live in a complex reality in which teens are trying to close the gap between the large expectations everyone has of us and the achievements that are becoming increasingly difficult for us to attain.  My presence at this event has caused me to understand things about my future and I’m leaving with much important information.”

Hila Uzan, a senior, said she feels that “Reshet has revealed so much to me.  When I heard that today’s focus would be career, I couldn’t understand the relevance.  The day when we’ll have to get steady jobs is so far off.  We’re young and the world lies before us…there’s Facebook to check, WhatsApp to answer…we still have final exams, military or national service.  But after this significant day, I understand the importance of awareness at this early stage and the importance of developing a career plan."

The Networking Event was the outcome of cooperation between IE’s Reshet program and the Turning Point program.  Turning Point, a group of initiatives preparing youths at-risk for the world of work since 2007, was established by Joint-Ashalim and the nonprofit Matan – Investing in the Community, with the involvement of the First International Bank of Israel.

Reshet is operated by Israel Elwyn in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, JDC-Ashalim, The National Insurance Institute – Fund for Special Programs, and the Ministry of Education.

Lets Connect

We'd love to hear from you! Also, please let us know in advance of your next trip to Israel and we will give you a tour of the Israel Elwyn programs.

You can also contact one of our North American offices: United States: (267) 225-5132 or Canada: (416) 649-1655.

If you would like to make a contribution either online or by check, please see the details below.

David B. Marcu, Chief Executive Officer

IE's mission is to develop and provide a wide array of supports and tools for people with disabilities, while constantly striving for excellence of service and the creation of a just society. Together with people with disabilities and society at large, we shall continue working as an innovative and cutting-edge organization.

Please support the work of Israel Elwyn to provide state-of-the-art services in the areas of childhood early intervention, rehabilitation, assisted living, vocational training and employment services for persons with disabilities by making a gift:

At PayPal:
American Friends of Israel Elwyn
Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn

By check payable to:
American Friends of Israel Elwyn, PO Box 828284, Philadelphia, PA 19182-8284
Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn, 74 Tycos Drive, Toronto, Ontario M6B 1V9

To donate in Israel:
Please click this link:
Mail checks: payable to "Israel Elwyn", at 20 Henrietta Szold St., Jerusalem 9650200

Back to top