During February, which is Jewish Disability Awareness Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM), we are featuring our Israel and Overseas partner agencies that serve the special needs community in innovative ways.

The good that you do enables the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County to support AKIM Israel’s “Equal in Uniform” program and IDF soldiers like Ron-el.

Meet Ron-el Cohen, a soldier with autism, serving in the Israel Defense Forces

Ron-el Cohen, 23, lives in Givatayim and is diagnosed with autism. In 2020, Ron-el began the AKIM Israel’s Equal in Uniform training in frontal encounters and intermittent zoom encounters, in response to the pandemic. At the end of the training program, he began volunteering at the Gali Tzahal base in the archives department in Tel Aviv. Ron-el formed positive relationships with the commanders and soldiers in the platoon. Throughout Ron-el’s uniformed process, he showed great motivation and a constant desire to improve and learn.

On September 5, 2021, Ron-el enlisted as a full-fledged soldier. On the day of the recruitment, Ron-el’s mother wrote to Chen, his Equal in Uniform coordinator, “You listened to me with sensitivity, but you were not as afraid as I was to allow Ron-el to use public transportation, even if it is a bit complicated for him and to allow him to experience a role that stretches his abilities to the end. I cherish the moment that you crossed our way, and there is no doubt that you are in a place where like in the hand of an artist, you manage to elevate abilities and hearts and bring our children to achievements, high self-esteem, and a sense of equality among equals. Indeed ‘equal in uniform’.”

AKIM Israel – one of our partner agencies, spreading good

Federation is proud to support the Equal in Uniform program at AKIM Israel, the Israeli national organization for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Founded in 1951, AKIM Israel acts to realize the rights, promote a better quality of life, and improve the welfare of some 35,000 people with intellectual disabilities and approximately 140,000 family members and legal guardians.

The good that you do, by giving to Federation, enables more inclusion and acceptance of those with disabilities throughout the world. Thank you.