It’s a tradition! The families look forward to it for weeks. It’s not like the others.
Chanukah parties take place all over the country but even the family party can be uncomfortable for parents with special needs children. While their siblings rejoice in the annual get-together, relaxed, enjoying each other’s company, the special needs parent cannot relax for a moment. Her sister worked hard on a fun kids’ activity. Will her child overturn the perfectly set-up table resulting in children’s tears and adults’ pitying stares? The cousins grab hands. They have plans. They want to put on a choir for the adults and are running down to the basement to practice. They don’t mean to be cruel when they don’t invite her child but her heart cries. She tries to comfort him as her tears mingle with his.
But this party…this party is different! It’s geared for special needs children! They are the stars! They are their siblings’ ticket to attend! It takes place at Netivot with the collaborative efforts of Ezer Mizion and the Keilim Meyuchadim organization with two hundred and fifty parents and children in attendance. It’s just one of the many events held throughout the year. There were countless booths with activities to match the abilities of the special child. Games! Crafts! Prizes galore! Shouts of delight! Grins of triumph on the faces of our very special children!
Volunteers from Bat Hamelech High School came early to set up and remained to man the stalls and help their charges succeed. A magic show featuring the magician, Elkanah Chamuel, topped off an already wonderful day. And then it was over. Precious children left the building clutching bags of surprises which they had been handed at the door, surprises to keep those giggles bursting forth for many days to come.