Written by Parents of Benjy Abramowitz, a C.P. patient from Petach Tikvah.
“Ima! I also want to learn in Yeshiva!” our son Benjy begged us 18 years ago.
Benjy had CP but his mental capabilities were like everyone else’s. He had feelings like everyone else. And most important, his spiritual needs were like everyone else’s. But what can be done if ‘minor’ factors prevented him from joining boys his age-like his inability to climb stairs or to hold a pencil or play basketball in the yard during recess. Benjy couldn’t do any of those things but he could recite with the class. He could participate in the contests and maybe even win. He could come home with shining eyes with a 100 on a test that he had worked hard for. Because he was incapable of the former, should he be deprived of the latter?
Benjy’s request was the signal and the trigger for the establishment of Matan – a Torah Center for special teens that functions today in Ezer Mizion.
As parents of a boy who was born with C.P., we always closely followed up any services available to special youth in the areas of education, culture, sport, social services, and occupation. But in the field of Torah education, we did not find any appropriate framework. Since we so badly wanted to respond to Benjy’s request and fill the vacuum, we set out on a mission. We needed a school that would be geared for his mental abilities but, at the same time, take into consideration his physical lacks. And there wasn’t one. We, his parents, would need to create one. But how? We had no organizational experience. We didn’t know where to begin. We had the energy and a strong desire but we needed someone who can lead the way.
In Ezer Mizion, we found a true partner to help us at every step of the way. That is how Matan came into existence, as another arm of the Ezer Mizion chessed empire. The goal of Matan is to organize and operate Torah education programs for special teens. About 60 students study at Matan. They are from all sectors of the community and range from ages 5 to 21. The activity takes place four afternoons a week and includes classes in Chumash, Mishnah, Halachah, creative activity, t’filah with a minyan, and more. The Matan staff includes an educational staff as well as 60 volunteers. With an abundance of love, joy, and warmth, they teach, dance, sing, and create with the students surrounded by the unique learning atmosphere of Matan. We were privileged that what started as activity with Torah values for our son Benjy and his friends turned into a magnet for C.P. children from the entire region. With persistence and endless patience, the educational staff brings the Matan students to a familiarity and understanding of Jewish values and creates a feeling of being equals with their brothers, friends, and those around them.”