An Inspirational Visit to ALEH with my Family

Today was a very special day for me in Israel. I got to revisit ALEH in Jerusalem and introduce my dad and sister to the inspirational facility I visited with my mum last year. ALEH helps an average of 650 people with disabilities everyday; providing living space, life training, and outstanding therapies for everyone who comes to their facilities. Dov Hirth, Director of International Public Relations at ALEH, has been an incredible mentor for me since we first met about a year ago and he continues to be a humbling source of support every opportunity that he gets.

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(Dov Hirth and Sierra Weiss)
I feel so fortunate to have met Dov and I am always inspired by his devotion, passion, and motivation for the disabled community. The smiles he brings to the faces of the ALEH residents in every room we visited was truly touching and I hope to do the same with the students of dance4empowerment as we continue to grow. I am already looking forward to seeing Dov and the rest of the ALEH community again in the near future and I can’t thank them enough for the inspiration they have given me.

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Dance, move, and empower,
Sierra

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Visiting the Ruderman Family Foundation in Rehovot, Israel

After a long delay leaving Boston due to weather, it was nice to enjoy my first full day in Israel since last year.  Besides visiting the Kotel, exploring Ben Yehuda Street, and eating delicious Israeli food, I met with Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF), and Ephraim Gopin, RFF’s Communications Director.  Overlooking the bucolic fields of Rehovot, I discussed the importance of the inclusion of people with disabilities in Boston and Israel with one of the most influential foundations in the field.  Over the past year, I have been very fortunate to learn from and receive support and inspiration from Jay; and, I’m excited to continue to work with Jay on the inclusion of people with disabilities in Boston and Israel.  In addition, it was great to finally meet Ephraim whom I have been interning with since the summer.  Ephraim has taught me so much about how to use social media to promote dance4empowerment; I am looking forward to our continued work together.

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(Jay Ruderman and Sierra Weiss)

I truly appreciate the time both Jay and Ephraim spent with me today discussing dance4empowerment’s goals and future. 

Dance, move, and empower,

Sierra

Almost One Year Later and Returning to Israel

Almost a year ago, I went to Israel to learn about creating inclusion and empowerment for people with disabilities from three of Israel’s pioneer programs.  I chose to travel to Israel because of my strong connection with the country and because I thought that Israel would provide the best opportunities to learn hands on about creating impactful programs for people with disabilities.  The trip was more than I could have asked for.  I was so inspired by the three foundations I visited and, further, have maintained strong relationships with them.  I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from such insightful and impressive leaders and look forward to visiting again.

I leave to Israel with my family next week; I am very excited to share my inspiration with them and to spend time together as a family.  It will be great to get to learn more about what I can do to improve and build on the foundation I’ve made for dance4empowerment now that we are up and running as a non-profit organization.  My last trip inspired me and taught me how to share the joy and love that I see in people with disabilities.  I hope to share my progress with my role models in Israel and to learn more from them. 

I started this blog for my last trip to Israel to share the benefits of dance for people with disabilities and to report on my progress.  Almost a year later, I reflect a lot on the progress of dance4empowerment and will continue to share all that I learn in Israel and into the future.  I want to take the time to thank everyone who has read my blog over the last year, who has supported me and influenced my work, and who believed in my ability and passion.  I hope you will all continue to follow me on my journey and help dance4empowerment continue to empower people with disabilities.

Dance, move, and empower,

Sierra