Israeli Paralympic medallist Boaz Kramer was the special guest at the launch of the Mitzvah Day Together initiative last week.
Jointly-staged by Mitzvah Day and the Board of Deputies, the new venture aims to recognise the crucial role that people with any type of disability can play in social action volunteering.
Speaking at the breakfast which was held at Langdon in Edgware, Kramer, who won silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, and was a member of Israel’s 2012 World Cup-winning wheelchair team, said: “Being disabled means you encounter many barriers in your life, social, academic and financial barriers. However, participation in activities, be it sport or volunteering, allows you to be successful.”
The 35-year-old, who’s the Executive Director of the Israel Sports Centre for the Disabled, added: “I’m very happy and proud for the opportunity to represent the Israel Sports Centre for the Disabled and Israeli wheelchair tennis team here. I think the Paralympics Games last year made a big difference for these types of athletes and pushing forward the idea of rehabilitation through sport, which is the idea that we are rooting.
“I’m very happy for this opportunity and to share the experience of the Paralympics and the success stories that I’m only representing here. But there are many more of them which shows how sport can be used as a leverage for rehabilitation and integration into able-bodied society.
“Part of the Centre is to not only promote and give envelopes to disabled athletes, but also to raise awareness to the idea of disabled sports being such a great window of opportunity for people with disabilities.”
Also addressing the sixty people at the launch, Laura Marks, Mitzvah Day Chair and Founder, and Board of Deputies Senior Vice President, said: “Mitzvah Day Together is about playing our part in practical, hands on ways to support, embrace and encourage inclusivity in the Jewish community and beyond.
“Boaz shows how inclusion allows individuals with disabilities to reach their unique potential and given the chance to fulfil dreams. It is about looking beyond differences and embracing strengths, skills and experiences everyone has.”
Langdon Chief Executive Alison Rosen added: “We’re proud to be among the 25,000 people who take part in Mitzvah Day. The message of ‘tikun olam’, healing the world, is a powerful one and we love playing our part.”