Taking advantage of this special opportunity, high
schoolers from Yachad quickly made friends with their
Jerusalem hosts. Although on the surface, the high
school students have more to give than the special needs
students, as in the story of King Solomon and the bee,
compassion has a great pay off. It is the high school
students who seem most grateful.
Connecting Through Art
Art and life mirrored each other when special needs and
high school students from
New York and Jerusalem met at
the Baka’a Community Center on a hot July morning to
listen to the story of King Solomon and the bee, and then
create a huge jigsaw puzzle of a painting based on the
In the story, King Solomon takes mercy on a little bee that
stung him and lets her live. The King’s compassion is later
repaid when the bee helps Solomon identify the real
flower amongst fakes presented by the Queen of Sheba.
In the same way, the compassion of high school students
from New York and Jerusalem in helping mentally
retarded youth has given them the opportunity to see what
is real and learn some lessons about purity of soul.
The day’s Connecting Through Art program, meant to
introduce New Yorkers and Jerusalemites, provided the
perfect atmosphere for the special needs students from
both cities to meet and get to know each other.
Connecting Through Art projects, designed by artists Nurit
Shani and Dror Eshed, are placed in public places around
Jerusalem as part of Partnership 2000, and funded by the
Jewish Agency, United Jewish Communities (UJA) Federation of New York, and the City
Even though temperatures were soaring and the day’s
activities were more than an hour late in getting started,
Yachad members – the New York group of special needs
and high school students on their first trip to Israel -- were
met with enthusiasm by their Jerusalem counterparts.
Rachel Cohn, 17, has been volunteering with Yachad for
three years. The first Shabbat she spent with the group
brought her to tears. But that first emotional experience
kept her coming back. Rachel is deeply appreciative of
what her friends at Yachad have given her.
“I learn so much, I get so much out of it,” she says. “I
have learned to appreciate what I have. At first it sounded
too hard but then I realized who these people are: You
don’t look on the outside, you look inside.”