Israelis with Disabilities are Focus in Tel Aviv Exhibit

On December 1st, a moving and distinctive photo exhibition was launched at 69 Ibn Gvirol Street at the Tel Aviv Municipality, which marked the starting of the Disability Rights Awareness month in Israel.

Named ‘At Eye Level’, the exhibition comprised of close up of photographs of those with disabilities, with Sharon Gabay taking the portraits.

The exhibition can be found in the main lobby and it is open to the public for the entire month of December, free of charge.

The opening ceremony

About 200 people attended the exhibit’s opening ceremony, which included the wife of outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Lih Lapid.

She is also the head of the organization named SHEKEL, which is aimed at the inclusion of those who suffer from disabilities.

Other attendees included Ron Huldai, the Mayor of Tel Aviv, Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Meir Cohen, the Social Welfare Minister, Sharon Melamed, the Director of Tel Aviv Social Services, Offer Dahary, the CEO of SHEKEL, Clara Feldman, the chairperson of SHEKEL and Segal Harari, the Tel Aviv Autism Services Coordinator, who coordinated the exhibition.

The photographs

The photographs in the exhibition are mainly black and white and quite large and their focus is on those who have special needs.

These are participants of the vocational rehabilitation programs of SHEKEL and also reside in its community housing in Petah Tikva and Jerusalem.

Every photograph is an individual’s portrait, which highlights their unique personality. SHEKEL initiated the exhibition to help the public see those with special needs.

It was aimed at helping bring these people to the forefront of the cultural and social stage of Israel.

Huldai and Lapid

The Mayor of Tel Aviv talked about the pride he felt at beginning the Disability Rights Awareness month in the city with the exhibition.

He also talked about the important services that are offered to people with disabilities in Tel Aviv. As for Lapid, she talked about the importance of slowing down and focusing on the people with disabilities.

She said that during the photo shoot, one of the women who were being photographed had begun crying because she could not believe they wanted to photograph her.

Cohen talked about his happiness at attending the exhibition and how powerful the photographs were. He was also grateful of the work that SHEKEL was doing, as was the Tel Aviv Municipality.

He said that great strides were being made in the area of disabilities in Israel on a daily basis. Sharon Gabay, the photographer also talked about his experience.

He discussed a blind man who had developmental disabilities and said that the SHEKEL staff had shown him a lot of respect and he was treated as an equal.

Gabay said that he had careful to treat his subjects at eye level, which had eventually been chosen as the name of the exhibition.

The photographer had opted to do the exhibition pro-bono. It had first been shown in September at the Jerusalem Theatre, where it had been introduced as a salute to Feldman to celebrate her position as CEO of SHEKEL for 32 years.

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