• lotemOn Sunday May 10, 2009, approximately 120 boys and girls from three special education schools in Haifa and the Kriyot took part in a moving ceremony at LOTEM’s ecological farm in Emek Hashalom in the north of Israel. The ceremony, a joint project of “Minhal Hevra V’Noar” and the Haifa Municipality, celebrated the teenagers’ 16th birthday, a right of passage when Israeli youth are issued their Israeli identity cards.

    The day’s activities were organized by LOTEM’s leadership team, which is specifically trained to work with special needs populations. It began with a hike along LOTEM’s accessible nature trail in Nachal Hashofet and on suitable paths in Emek Hashalom. Throughout the hike, LOTEM’s guides spoke about the natural beauty of the land of Israel, as well as about the rights and obligations of Israeli citizenship, in a language suitable to the children’s special needs.

    The ceremony itself took place at LOTEM’s ecological farm in Emek Hashalom. The children, who were dressed in blue and white, participated in the ceremony through readings, songs and dances. “It is important to give to one’s country rather than remain a burden to it,” a mentally challenged teenager read. This is truly a lesson for citizens everywhere in the world

    The ceremony concluded with the Prayer for Peace.

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