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Israeli Singles Group for Young Adults with Disabilities

For people with physical challenges, loneliness is the biggest challenge of all. The Inbar organization exists to address this need

By: Abigail Klein Leichman
Published: September 23rd, 2013 in Health » Israel
Inbar monthly meeting

Haifa resident Liat Mansfeld, 37, is a social worker who counsels at-risk girls and teaches in Oranim College. Despite her impressive credentials, she has not found her soul mate through dating websites and matchmakers. Most likely, that’s because Mansfeld happens to be blind.

"People are very afraid of someone with differences," she says.

She is one of about 40 Israeli singles who attend monthly events sponsored by Inbar, a four-year-old national organization that creates opportunities for social integration and skills development for marriage between adults with disabilities.

"Israel is a very family-oriented society," says Director Laurie Groner. "While society is increasingly welcoming to those with disabilities, the challenges of social inclusion they face grow exponentially as their able-bodied friends marry and settle into the routine of family life."

Groner, a non-profits professional with training in marriage therapy, says as far as she knows there is nothing quite like Inbar in Israel or abroad.

Inbar is Hebrew for amber, a substance that looks and feels like rock but is actually fossilized tree resin. This illusion is a metaphor for the members of Inbar, whose disabilities present a picture that fails to reveal what is in their hearts.

It is also a play on the surname of Rabbi Shaul Inbari, 46, who was born with severe cerebral palsy and wrote a book on disabilities in Jewish law. Four years ago, he confided in his friend Shalomi Eldar — a community rabbi turned Intel computer programmer — that he despaired of spending the rest of his life coming home to an empty house.

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Via ISRAEL21c

Related articles: Health News, Israel News, Inbar, Singles Group, Oranim College
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