For groups and individuals who visit the Holy Land from all over the world, the highlight of their visit is often Jerusalem’s Western Wall. For the first time, a special group of severely disabled people, who live in unique housing centers sponsored by the charity organization Colel Chabad, were blessed to join in that life-altering experience.
Koby Wiesel, Director of Colel Chabad’s two revolutionary independent and private living spaces, which presently house 55 people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a paralyzing disorder, told Breaking Israel News that this experience was one of his “dreams come true.”
“There are 10 disabled people living in the Beis Finger Center in Jerusalem and 45 living in the Grabski Rehabilitation Center in Migdal HaEmek in northern Israel,” Wiesel explained. “This is the first time that the residents of the two medical centers have met and the first time that those from the north were able to pray at the Western Wall.”
Each disabled person required a personal aid to assist them on this day trip. As a result, nearly 100 people arrived for the occasion by way of special buses to Jerusalem. They were first greeted with festive dancing and singing by klezmer musicians. Then, they were brought to the Western Wall plaza for “selichot” prayers, which are said before the High Holidays begin.
“I didn’t just want them to pray at the Western Wall,” continued Wiesel to Breaking Israel News. “I wanted them to experience one of the unique prayer highlights of the year.”
One of the nearly 50 staff members in attendance emotionally shared, “To see these precious Jews standing in front of the Western Wall, that is, sitting in a wheelchair, some of them teary with excitement, was worth every effort.”
The visit to the Western Wall was part of an experiential day for the center residents in Jerusalem. During this day, the participants dined at the David Citadel and listened to a talk by the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz.
“The encounter between the groups from Migdal HaEmek and Jerusalem was particularly moving, like a big family that united for one evening,” continued Wiesel. “Though, the logistics were challenging, we made a supreme effort to bring everyone, even those with complex medical challenges, to pray at the Western Wall.”
Though the day was exhausting for all involved, Wiesel said it was well worth the effort. “It was a very emotional and satisfying experience for everyone. Though, the next day the residents asked for time off to relax from all the excitement.”
Colel Chabad provides the physically disabled residents of their centers with professional medical services, and cutting edge therapeutic-rehabilitation. This extraordinarily uplifting trip is another historic moment for the charity organization, which does all it can to make the lives of those in need in Israel brighter.
To donate to Colel Chabad’s large network of social welfare programs, please visit here.