There are retarded people here in Israel. They're on the street, in the parks, out in groups, on their own. I see a guy regularly when I go to Shira Hadasha. He keeps, Ilan, the guard, company. There's a young woman who works at Aroma at the Hadar Mall and a few people at the local supermarket. Whether or not attitudes to the retarded here are perfect or not (as noted in an articles from today's Haaretz - read your link), at least people with disabilities are visible. I've mentioned this before but I guess I still find it amazing after the invisibility of life in NY for the special needs community.
As seen on The Honey (just scroll down that issue a bit), we noted a cultural offering last week at Ha'maabada/The Lab, a local performing arts joint - actually, really not a joint. A cool space, lovely for smaller venues and a nice bar/cafe right outside with beer on tap and of course, espresso. We went to see, Amutat Kna'fay'im/Wings, a theatrical performance by disabled adults about their lives and their work - in a spoon factory. I don't know what we were expecting, really, but despite some last minute excitment (Jessica needed to be stitched and glued in 2 fingers because she spaced out while cutting watermelon but it should be added that she had 1/2 of Danie's TRY students at a barbecue at home. Of course, Daniel couldn't leave because of the TRY students so Ira, who loves blood, had to take her to the local emergency clinic - he said he didn't look), we managed to get there - me, Lisa Smith and Ira (who was a bit late).
Full house, included 2 other families that we know locally with children with special needs and Akiva's principal from Feuerstein, who really looks like a smurf. Stage was set, lighting came on and we were absolutely held in thrall for the next hour or so. About 18 adults - some with physical disablities, some with emotional and all appeared to be developmentally delayed in one way or the other. They spoke, they danced, they talked of their lives - their wishes, hopes and dreams. The good thing was that it wasn't sweet - in some cases, especially the women, it was downright angry. Two women spoke of being treated poorly on the street by others, especially men, and one spoke of being taken advantage sexually by men in her neighborhood. Most of the women spoke wistfully of wanting to have homes, families and their was a poignant but well staged section of most of the women, veiled, dressed in elements of bridal finery, pretending to be brides.
Everyone expressed some kind of thought, feeling or opinion - some actors were harder to understand than others but they all had something to say and it was cool to watch the actors work together, encourage each other and clearly show how they knew what they were doing. It was a well-rehearsed and well thought out piece and we were all impressed and excited with the evening.
We clapped and cheered and the actors bowed and smiled and cheered for themselves. The performance was free, which surprised us as we all thought it was good theater, better than alot of 'paid' theater that we've seen - it was not about "let's go see the retarded people and clap for them."
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