People who are physically disabled often sink into depression feeling they have little left to look forward to. When confronted with a debilitating injury, some may develop feelings of uselessness. Sports activity can serve as an excellent remedy to combat these feelings. Competitive sports can play a pivotal role on the road towards rehabilitation and reintegration back into society. Sports programmes enable people with physical disabilities to experience the emotional and mental excitement of achievement: with every goal achieved, the athlete seeks a new challenge. By competing, the disabled learn how to rise above their limitations and face up to their new situation more easily. This generates a feeling that everything and anything is attainable. Team sports also create opportunities for socialising.
Alongside competitive and achievement oriented sports, Beit Halochem offers its members a wide array of sports activities suited for every form of disability. Professional coaches work at the centres providing guidance. These activities include, amongst others, special gymnastics for amputees and spinal cord injuries, a wheelchair basketball team, table tennis, volley ball, field tennis, tandem bikes for the blind and hand bike cycling for amputees and paraplegics, goal ball – the only team sport for the blind, archery, sailing, rowing, kayaking, horseback riding, wheelchair tennis, badminton, swimming and sports activities for the entire family.
The sports facilities at the Beit Halochem Centres include large sports halls, accessible to all types of disabilities, swimming pools which serve the members for both swimming, training as well as for treatments. The temperature of the water is set to suit the needs of the severely disabled which use them.
The Fitness Rooms have equipment fitted for diverse disabilities; people in wheelchairs as well as the blind members are accommodated. The unique shooting gallery at Beit Halochem also accommodates members with every type of disability.
Specialist Activities for the Blind
At Beit Halochem’s shooting galleries, blind members can carry out shooting practice using special technology which enables them to use their ears instead of their eyes. This is done using an acoustic system (sometimes called electro-acoustic glasses or headphones) which have a special telescopic sight that converts light into sound. The closer the rifle points to the centre of the target, the higher the tone. Goal Ball, is a recognized Paralympic team sport for the blind and the visually impaired. It is played at Beit Halochem. Blind veterans ride Tandem bikes as part of the bike courses offered. Bowling for the blind is a new activity and veterans have been skiing on Mt. Hermon thanks to specialised programmes and coaches who volunteer their time.
Members can fill their leisure hours at Beit Halochem with a wide array of enrichment programmes through cultural activities and art. Plays, concerts and films are shown at the auditoriums and lectures are held across a diverse range of subjects. Art exhibitions are held displaying members’ works
Games and Competitions
The Sports and Recreation Wing organise activities of a competitive nature. The Bridge and Chess clubs at the Beit Halochem Centres are particularly active and their participants take part in various league competitions. A lot of action takes place at the Billiards Hall, especially in view of the great importance this particular sport has for people who have suffered head injuries and the need to practice their coordination skills.
Two dance troupes operate at Beit Halochem, both led by professional choreographers.
“Hora Galgalim” is composed of men and women dancers in wheelchairs paired up with standing partners. It epitomises the dream to dance and the victory of mind and spirit over body. The troupe’s programme includes a rich repertoire of song, dance and stage performance including Israeli and International Folk dances, Latino and Ballroom dancing and colorful costumes to match them.
“Hora Galgalim” performs in front of wounded veterans at hospitals and rehabilitation centres, take part in TV programmes, participates in the annual Carmiel Dance Festival, appear in many local as well as overseas events and enjoys acclaim wherever it appears.
“Galgalei Kesem” is the dance ensemble which specialises in Latin and Ballroom dancing performed by single partners as well as in groups. Its members take part in international competitions representing Israel in world championships.
Creative Workshops /Occupational Therapy
At Beit Halochem, workshops in diverse arts & crafts are offered. These include: painting, photography, sculpting, vitrage, papier-mâché, ceramics, gold and silver crafting, music, cooking, languages, alternative medicine, folk dancing, ballroom dancing and more. Beit Halochem’s choruses and singing troupes represent the organisation in various events nationwide, including state events.
Activities for the Entire Family
With a view to enable the entire family to become active participants in their dear ones’ rehabilitation process, Beit Halochem Centres encourage family members to join in on the many activities they offer. Extra attention is given to members’ children and they enjoy a range of activities during the afternoons or vacations. Specialist play rooms have been set up at the four centres with parties and social events taking place which enables children to participate alongside their parents.
Young Veterans Club
One of Beit Halochem’s highest priorities is to provide support and encouragement to its youngest members aged 18-35 by offering them a variety of programmes suitable to their particular needs and interests. Regular events such as stand-up comedians, live music performances, jeep rides, paintball outings and extreme sports including rappelling and rock climbing are examples of programmes tailored specifically for the benefit of the young veterans. Bringing together the young veterans from all parts of the country creates a bond and camaraderie so vital to their rehabilitation.
“Gil-On” Club – A Unique Framework for the Retirees
Hundreds of retirees visit the Beit Halochem centres daily. The Gil On Club was established in 1995 to provide an enriched cultural, social and recreational framework for them and their spouses. Lecturers, Artists and Public figures in diverse fields appear before the club members. Field trips and events are also organised. Membership is free for anyone aged 55 years and above.