Established in 1968, Shema is a registered Israeli non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of children with hearing loss and to their integration into society. It is unique in providing services for deaf and hard of hearing children and youth of school age (6-21). The association operates together with the Education Ministry's Educational and Therapeutic Centers. Shema operates its effective programming at five centres throughout Israel serving more than 5000 children each year. Our centers are located from Eilat in the south to Tiberias in the north.
Our services include:
Social clubs: Our core activity — an after school enrichment program, provides a peer group environment in which our children receive support and assistance in dealing with hearing loss and its implications while acquiring knowledge and skills and not to forget... having fun! This program addresses the unique social needs and loneliness issues of children with hearing loss and provides educational and recreational activities in an accessible environment. Trips, parties, theatre and special events play a significant role. Children, who would otherwise stay home, are able to connect with other children and enjoy valuable and empowering experiences. The staff of counsellors includes deaf and hard of hearing adults who serve as role models and provide a warm and embracing environment.
Basketball and soccer club: Children and Youth with hearing loss find it difficult to fit into community sports clubs because of communication issues. "Shema Sports Club" enables kids to enjoy sport and build self- confidence. They are coached by professional deaf coaches and compete in league and friendship games.
Sports Tournament: An annual event for children and youth with hearing loss, who compete in various sporting events: soccer, basketball, volleyball and table tennis. This tournament energizes and empowers our kids imbuing in them a team spirit and pride in their achievements.
Young Leadership: For our teens, as they begin their journey to independence and responsibility. They learn about leadership, groups and teamwork, planning and organizing group activities.
"Creating a future": We believe that our youth will become productive and contributing members of society. They just need a little help. Our older teens participate in this program which addresses vocational and national service issues, imparting knowledge, skills and vocational knowhow.
Information Center for Army and National Service: The center provides information, guidance and mediation for our teenagers approaching army service, many of whom are not enlisted but choose to volunteer.
Social Services: address the diverse individual needs of the children and their families, and include counselling, therapy, support groups and assistance with bureaucratic issues.
Shema Theatre: The Shema Theatre is an inspiration and a unique voice. It stages colorful and spectacular productions which are accessible to all, and is compiled of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing members.
The Sign Language Learning Center offers courses for all levels, taught by professional and experienced staff of deaf and hard of hearing teachers. The teaching of sign language is viewed by the association and the staff as a window to the social and cultural world of the deaf, diverse and fascinating.
Advocacy: Legislative initiatives and expansion of public awareness to the unique problems of the deaf and hard of hearing.