Thursday, December 5, 2019

The unique challenges of Israel's periphery communities

Ahmad: He's mentioned below
Earlier this week, Israel's parliament, the Knesset, held an important conference under the title "Periphery at the Center". Some 500 participants attended including government officials, domain experts, mayors, local council heads, journalists, academics and Members of Knesset.

The event focused on the challenges facing Israel's outlying areas - the periphery communities located relatively far from Israel's centers of population in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and the Coastal Plain.

According to a Knesset report [here], the subjects under discussion included economic and social resilience, employment and economic development, personal security, education, culture, art and aspects connected to how the periphery communities are represented in the media.

"In Israel there are 257 local authorities, and 200 of them are dependent on the government's support," Ministry of the Interior Director-General Mordechai Cohen said at the opening. "The heads of local councils go from ministry to ministry and beg for alms! We need to think outside the box."

Data presented by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed that communities in the periphery have the highest percentage of smokers and people who are overweight. And the lowest percentage of people who exercise.

Among some of the other worrying data points presented to attendees:
  • In the periphery, 30.9 out of 100,000 people are killed in road accidents, compared with 18.6 in central Israel communities.
  • About a quarter of the residents of periphery communities simply give up on getting medical treatment because of distance factors.
  • 54% of residents travel great distances to receive medical care
  • A third of periphery residents are unhappy with the state of available health services
At the Malki Foundation, we are only too aware of the challenges and the failures that follow. We are proud of our Therapists on Wheels program which for years has made a valued, straightforward and relatively simple contribution to allieviating some of the periphery's problems.

Ahmad Mutlaq is one of the talented and dedicated physiotherapists who works in our program. He travels to the homes of children with disabilities in the South in order to deliver in-home, and much needed, therapy service. Read more on our website about Ahmad and the children he treats ["Bringing therapy to children in the south"].

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

On Malki Roth's birthday, remembering a beautiful life

The Malki Foundation was founded to honor the memory of Malka Roth z”l, a beautiful young soul who dedicated her short life to caring for others. Had she lived, her birthday would be tomorrow, November 27.

Always ready with a warm smile and an encouraging word, she was especially focused on children with special needs like her own youngest sister Haya who suffers from serious health challenges and disabilities.

Malki inspired those around her to do kindness for others. She enlisted her friends to be camp counselors for children with special needs and to volunteer for organizations which helped them.

One friend, Odeliya, recalls the night she and Malki shared a sleeping bag at a Shabbat overnight. Malki had given her own sleeping bag to a new classmate who hadn’t brought one. Odeliya writes:
“That was so characteristic of Malki. She cared about people that no one else even noticed. And she was always happy to give, without thinking twice.”
Another friend, Rachel, remembers this of Malki:
“Just when each of us was trying to find our place in the world, you showed me true friendship and what it meant to be a mensch, to be dedicated, to always see the good in others. You helped us grow to be the people we are today.”
Eighteen years after her tragic death in a terror attack when she was just fifteen, Malki's path is continued in the work of the Malki Foundation, helping children grow to be the best they can be.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Thanks Rachel for helping us make the world a better place

Thank you to our amazing summer intern Rachel Aziz who transformed our social media this summer and is now returning to her home in the United States. 

So grateful for your help and we will miss you! Come back soon!!! Wherever you go they are lucky to have you

Thanks also to #jInternship for connecting us with Rachel. 

At the Malki Foundation, we're always interested in qualified, energetic and disabilities-minded interns for our Jerusalem office. If that's you, please be in touch: 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Are you ready to indulge?

If you're in London. And a lady.

Click to enlarge the poster. For more information and to register

Our sincere appreciation to the event sponsors: OGR Stock Denton and Vintage Wealth Management

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

How the Malki Foundation got started

From Varda Meyers Epstein's interview on the Elder of Ziyon blog
A brief extract here from an interview published a week ago on the influential Elder of Ziyon blog site.

Varda Meyers Epstein, under the nom-de-web Judean Rose, conducted the interview which was published as "A Father Speaks Out: The Murder of Malki Roth and the Refusal of Jordan to Extradite the Beast Ahlam Tamimi".
In August 2001, partnered by Rachel, a school-friend, she [Malki] insisted her way into the annual summer camp held by Etgarim, a wonderful nonprofit that provides summer sports, camping and the best of outdoors activity for youngsters with special needs, both cognitive and physical. Malki told us that Etgarim wasn’t geared up to take volunteers but that somehow the girls broke through the resistance and became part of the team. The photos we later saw show Malki smiling from ear to ear as she poses with campers. Most of what we know about those few days we learned after the Sbarro bombing which happened just a couple of days after Malki came home from the north. The stories they shared with us are unbearably touching.
We named the new entity the Malki Foundation: in Hebrew, Keren Malki. Almost eighteen years on, it has a terrific record of quiet, modest achievement, empowering thousands of parents of children with extreme special needs—children from every part of Israeli society without regard for religion, political outlook, national identification or economic capability—who have made the decision to embrace the challenge of raising their child with special needs at home and withstanding the pressure to institutionalize the child.
We avoid intruding into the family’s life or second-guessing them on decisions about which non-medical therapies they feel will most benefit their child. We support physical therapy, speech therapy, hydrotherapy, therapeutic horse riding and occupational therapy. They choose the therapist and the times and the frequency; we pay. We want them to feel empowered. It’s a successful model. We also provide home-care and mobility equipment, and for families living in the periphery—Israel’s far north and far south—we send our own therapists right into the home. For many of them, we could provide an open check for therapy services and they would be unable to spend the money. Israel seriously lets such families down.
Associating tragedy, personal loss, grief and pain with good, constructive deeds is a respected and time-honored Jewish response. We call those deeds hesed. I don’t intend to wax poetical in explaining why the family created the Malki Foundation but want simply to say: it gives me the opportunity, often and before audiences I would not otherwise reach, of saying: There was a very special young woman called Malki and we are all poorer for her having been taken from us.
Malki will never be a statistic but an inspiration. And in remembering her, we also realize that she and the savage who engineered her death are not—as several dull journalists said to me at various points in the weeks after the massacre—two sides of the same coin. 
If you have the time to read the whole piece, it may cast the Malki Foundation's work in a different light for you.

Friday, May 17, 2019

At the ambassador's residence, an evening to honor the Malki Foundation's work

Ambassador of Australia Chris Cannan with Yair Nitzani
and Arnold Roth
Ori was born with severe disabilities and is unable to walk. His parents decided 18 years ago that they wanted to raise him at home. Looking back, they have no regrets. Ori receives three kinds of paramedical therapy today and with all the challenges he faces in life, he is thriving. So is the family.

Ori's father spoke movingly at an event honouring the Malki Foundation at the official residence of Australia's ambassador to Israel on a warm evening recently. Ambassador Chris Cannan, a staunch supporter of the foundation's work, was the generous host. Guests were entertained by the talented Yair Nitzani, one of Israel's best-known television and music industry figures.

In his words to those present, Ori's father expressed gratitude to the Malki Foundation for understanding the needs of the family and for funding Ori's therapies, all while allowing them to make the choices of what is best for their son.

Among the guests were Doron Shalit, Chief Executive of GSK Israel; Dr. Itzhak Siev-Ner of Israel's Ministry of Health; Nadav Tamir from the Peres Center, and Dan Krasnostein, a Square Peg Capital partner.

Speaking afterwards, Malki Foundation chairman Arnold Roth said: "It's a privilege to provide non-sectarian support via equipment and therapies, as we have for nearly 18 years, and to do it in the name of our loved and greatly missed child. We made aliyah from Australia where my daughter Malki and I were both born. Ambassador Cannan has been terrific in the interest he takes in the Malki Foundation's work and in his public expressions of support."

Haaretz: Honoring Malki Roth and her legacy
The Malki Foundation has for nearly 18 years carried on the legacy of Malki Roth, who had been dedicated to caring for her severely disabled sister and also volunteered to help children with special needs before being killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem in 2001. Last week, Australia’s ambassador to Israel, Chris Cannan, hosted a reception at his residence to honor the foundation. “Australian culture famously has an in-built sympathy for the underdog, which in our case means families battling to get Israel’s health system to stand with them as they face the challenges of a child’s profound disabilities,” said Malki’s father, Arnold Roth, who like his daughter was born in Melbourne. “The struggle is far harder than people not directly involved usually realize. It’s a privilege to provide nonsectarian support via equipment and therapies — as we have for nearly 18 years — and to do it in the name of our loved and greatly missed child.” 
Source: Rank and File/Steven Klein | Haaretz | May 17, 2019
Jerusalem Post: Movers and shakers in Israeli society
Musician, songwriter, radio and television broadcaster, actor and comedian Yair Nitzani has a soft spot for children with special needs. So when asked to appear on behalf of the Malki Foundation, which helps families with severely affected special needs children to keep them at home in a loving family environment rather than have them placed in an institution, he readily agreed. The event was held at the residence of Australian Ambassador Chris Cannan.

Under the circumstances, Nitzani asked whether he should speak in English or Hebrew. Though it would not have made much difference to most of the guests, in deference to the host, Nitzani spoke in English, apologizing that his English is not so good, because it was learned in his youth, not in the classroom but from songs on the hit parade. “So if I say: ‘She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah,’ you know where it came from.”

His whole routine was gently self-deprecating from start to finish. Introduced in superlatives by Malki Foundation co-founder Arnold Roth, Nitzani said that no one had ever spoken about him so nicely. He had been a very bad student, he said, adding that when the teacher came to class and said: “Good morning, children,” her next sentence was: “Yair, out!”

He gave some examples of why she had that attitude toward him, leaving little doubt about what a cheeky boy he’d been. One day, he was called to the principal’s office, where it was suggested to him that he leave of his own initiative. The principal was reluctant to actually expel him, but made it clear that there was no point in him staying at school, because “no good will come of you.”

One day, several years later, Nitzani was walking down the street with his daughter, when he was hailed by a woman whom he did not recognize. She told him that the principal was retiring and that a book with messages from former pupils of the school was being prepared in his honor. She asked Nitzani to write a few lines of appreciation. Nitzani declined, and when she asked why, he told her that he could hardly do that after the principal had told him that nothing would become of him. That prediction had accompanied him throughout his life. “He would never say such a thing,” responded the woman. Curious as to how she could be so adamant, Nitzani asked: “Who are you?” “I’m his wife,” was the reply.

One of Nitzani’s comedy gimmicks is a regular faucet with a suction cup on the back, enabling him to stick it temporarily to any surface, including his head. He had never attended university, he said, but when he was asked to appear at an event at the University of Haifa, there was some dithering over payment. His compromise solution was for the university to give him a degree instead of the money. And sure enough, he projected onto the video screen a photograph of himself in academic cap and gown, flanked by the university’s powers that be. The one thing that suggested that perhaps it might be fake news was the faucet on Nitzani’s forehead. It somehow did not jive with the solemnity of the occasion. But according to Nitzani, he gave his citation to his 93-year-old mother.

One of Nitzani’s favorite games with the faucet is when cars stop at a traffic light. Drivers and passengers have a habit of turning their heads to see what is going on in the vehicle alongside. When Nitzani sees a husband and wife in the vehicle in the next lane, the wife is the one usually staring into his car. He puts the faucet on the top of his bald head and when the wife turns excitedly to her husband to tell him that there’s a man in the next car with a faucet springing out of his head, Nitzani quickly removes it, so that when the husband looks, all he sees is an ordinary male driver. The husband then berates the wife and tells her that she’s hallucinating. 
The faucet, which was given to him by his brother, became an important branding and marketing tool when he was part of the T-Slam band in the 1980s. The guitarist and the singer were in front, and Nitzani, who was the keyboard instrumentalist, was in the back and could hardly be seen. The first time that the band was on television, Nitzani, out of the blue, decided to put the faucet on his head. The upshot was that he’s the only person seen in the promotional film clip. The faucet has served him well ever since...
Malki’s youngest sister, Haya, had been born a perfectly normal child, but was brain-damaged through being wrongly treated in hospital, said her father, Arnold Roth. The doctors had suggested to Roth and his wife, Frimet, that they not take Chaya home, because she would never progress. They were appalled at the idea of abandoning their child to the care of strangers, believing that what she needed most was to be in the bosom of her family, and to receive therapeutic care from professionals who came to their home. With the passage of time they discovered that many parents with special needs children shared this belief, but did not always have sufficient funds to enable such an arrangement. Malki adored Chaya, and gave her a great amount of attention, so it was only natural, when the Roths wanted to memorialize her, that they should come up with something that symbolized Malki’s love and care for Chaya.

The Malki Foundation subsidizes the expense of paramedical therapeutic care selected by the child’s family, provides specialized equipment on loan for rehabilitation in the home, and sends paramedical therapists to housebound children with special needs as well as to those who live in peripheral areas.

Cannan said that he is happy to be associated with organizations such as the Malki Foundation, “because in Australia we take disability seriously and recognize the need to care for special needs children in the home.” The other reason for his attachment to the Malki Foundation is that Malki Roth was born in Australia and came to Israel as an Australian citizen. 
Source: Grapevine/Greer Fay Cashman | Jerusalem Post | May 7, 2019 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Bringing him home

In certain respects, the Malki Foundation's Rainbow of Music concerts, annual events in Jerusalem and Ra'anana, walk a thin line.

On one hand, an evening of joyous celebration of life and of the music that brings delight. On the other, a serious purpose - raising charitable funds for a terrific cause - tied to tragic circumstances, the murder of Malki Roth in the 2001 Battle of Sbarro in Jerusalem.

The Malki Foundation was established in 2001 to become a living memorial to Malki's beautiful life.

Last night's fabulously successful concert in Jerusalem came with an additional layer of paradox and complexity.

Shai Abramson, who along with Yitzchak Meir was one of the concert's featured performers, happens to be the Chief Cantor of the Israel Defence Forces.

And yesterday evening that senior IDF role caused him to be late in arriving at the Jerusalem Theatre for the Malki Foundation event. He was the hazan (cantor) 
leading the prayers at the funeral of a soldier who fell in battle nearly four decades ago:
Sgt. First Class Zachary Baumel was laid to rest in Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery on Thursday evening, nearly 37 years after his death in the First Lebanon War’s battle of Sultan Yacoub in 1982, at the age of 21. Thousands turned out for the ceremony, where Baumel — whose remains were returned to Israel days ago after a complex IDF intelligence operation and with central Russian assistance — was eulogized by President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others. Also attending were Baumel’s family, friends, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Culture Minister Miri Regev and top officials from the IDF’s armored corps, Baumel’s unit... ["After 37 years, Baumel buried in funeral touching ‘deepest part of our identity’"]
Still in  uniform (which he soon shed for the rest of the concert), he launched immediately into a soaring rendition of an especially moving song made famous by its role in the smash hit musical, Les Misérables. The title makes clear why Shai wanted it to be his opening, in place of the playlist appearing in the programme: Bring Him Home.

You may not be surprised to know that many in the theatre were left dealing with specks that suddenly affected their eyes.

We plan to be writing again soon about Thursday night's memorable concert.