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"We came to give – but at the end we took away so much more…"
Oct 30, 2012
In what has become an annual tradition, students from Yeshivat Lev HaTorah (Heart of the Torah) in Ramat Bet Shemesh joined residents of ALEH Jerusalem for an intensive day of chessed, joy and laughter. The students arrived full of goodwill and enthusiasm; some even dressed in colorful costumes to entertain the residents.
For ALEH’s disabled children, any visitors are a welcome diversion, and they look forward to meeting new people. But the Lev HaTorah boys have proven to be more than one-off guests. This is the fourth consecutive year in which students have come to entertain ALEH residents, with many of the students going on to become regular volunteers throughout the year. Some of the regulars greeted ‘their’ residents like old friends, happy to have the chance to reconnect, while the newcomers were happy to meet the ALEH residents they had heard so much about.
The group first received a short orientation about the center, its goals and the children; they then proceeded to visit with and perform for all the residents – from the toddlers to the teenagers. As in years past, their high spirits were contagious, and ALEH’s residents responded to them immediately – clapping along and swaying in their wheelchairs. Accompanied by a guitar, all sang and danced with great emotion. The sounds of laughter, music, and camaraderie that filled the room touched every resident personally.
It was clear that the experience was meaningful to the Lev HaTorah students as well as to ALEH’s residents and staff. Some of the more memorable remarks included:
“Coming to ALEH is also so inspiring and motivating.”
“The love that ALEH’s residents show to visitors is extraordinary.”
“We can totally be ourselves here. There is no need to put on a fake front or act differently than usual. The children here have honest, pure souls, and they accept everyone just as they are – which is an amazing thing.”
“It totally gives me a different perspective when I see these kids and how much they have to overcome in their daily lives. It makes all of our problems seem petty and unimportant in comparison, and shows what really matters.”
“We came to give – but at the end we took away so much more…”
The yeshiva’s administration concurred, asserting that visiting ALEH offered students a powerful experience, which heightened their maturity, widened their viewpoint, and strengthened their compassion and caring.
Watching the excitement of our children and hearing from the students how much they appreciated the opportunity to be part of such an inspiring experience says it all.
Thanks to the students of Yeshivat Lev HaTorah for bringing such joy into the hearts of ALEH’s children!
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