Lotem

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LOTEM is the leading organization in Israel offering accessible hikes and educational nature activities around the country to children and adults with special needs.  These include individuals with visual and hearing impairments, physical, intellectual and emotional challenges and children on the autism spectrum.  They also include at risk youth and mothers and children residing in shelters for victims of domestic violence. With one center on an ecological farm in the picturesque Emek HaShalom (Valley of Peace) Nature Park near Yokneam and one in Jerusalem, LOTEM enables close to 35,000 participants to take part in nature activities per year.  In 2002, LOTEM together with KKL, JNF-USA and other partners, collaborated to build an inclusive trail in the Nahal HaShofet Nature Park, next to the city of Yokneam.  This mile long, circular trail is enjoyed by more than one million people every year on foot, wheelchair, walker and stroller.  It is Israel’s first fully accessible trail and serves as a model for other accessible trails around the country.  A JNF-USA partner organization, LOTEM uses nature as a platform for true inclusion in Israeli society.

New Project

LOTEM's facilities in Israel’s North are located on an ecological farm in the heart of the Emek HaShalom (Valley of Peace) Nature Park near Yokneam. Situated in the middle of this beautiful valley, the farm is surrounded by blooming nature and the peaceful flow of water. Carpets of blossoming flora, flowing streams of water, mysterious caves, and a wide variety of trees and flowers are only a small part of the stimuli the area has to offer.

For the past 20 years, the Emek HaShalom Farm has served as a center in nature to educate people with special needs about agriculture in ancient times in the Land of Israel, through experiential, hands-on workshops connected to the Jewish calendar. Visitors include individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities, hearing and visual impairments, children on the autism spectrum, as well as at risk youth and battered women.  Activities include producing olive oil and grape juice in the only wheelchair accessible wine and oil presses in the world, drawing water from an ancient well and more. LOTEM’s farm is the only place of its kind in the world fully inclusive to individuals with special needs.

The last of the original buildings awaiting renovation is an old structure in the center of the farm that served as a guesthouse and work station in the 1960s.  The old structure will become a two-story house called “Beit Emek HaShalom” that will preserve the lifestyle of the original residents of the farm in the 1960s.  The 1st floor will serve as a work quarter, where volunteers from overseas together with LOTEM guides and staff with special needs will take part in projects that involve woodworking, welding and the use of other equipment and machinery, in order to upgrade daily agricultural work and educational nature workshops on the farm.  The residence quarter on the 2nd floor will house the farm guard as well as small groups of volunteers and LOTEM staff.  Beit Emek HaShalom will serve as a platform for all the activities that take place on the farm for the nearly 10,000 visitors per year and will allow for the continued development of the farm as a viable center in nature to educate program participants with special needs.  Beit Emek HaShalom will be located within the central compound of the farm which will include the protected classroom, solar classroom and service kitchen.

The total cost of Beit Emek HaShalom is $500,000. A matching gift of $200,000 has been secured for this project.

About Us

Updates

LOTEM is the leading organization in Israel offering accessible hikes and educational nature activities around the country to children and adults with special needs.  These include individuals with visual and hearing impairments, physical, intellectual and emotional challenges and children on the autism spectrum.  They also include at risk youth and mothers and children residing in shelters for victims of domestic violence. With one center on an ecological farm in the picturesque Emek HaShalom (Valley of Peace) Nature Park near Yokneam and one in Jerusalem, LOTEM enables close to 35,000 participants to take part in nature activities per year.  In 2002, LOTEM together with KKL, JNF-USA and other partners, collaborated to build an inclusive trail in the Nahal HaShofet Nature Park, next to the city of Yokneam.  This mile long, circular trail is enjoyed by more than one million people every year on foot, wheelchair, walker and stroller.  It is Israel’s first fully accessible trail and serves as a model for other accessible trails around the country.  A JNF-USA partner organization, LOTEM uses nature as a platform for true inclusion in Israeli society.

For more information, please contact:

Alisa Bodner
Email: lotem@jnf.org
Mobile: +972-0502634332
Israel Tel: +972-4-959-1808
USA Tel: +347-236-3262
Our Address: Emek HaShalom POB 303, Yokneam Moshava, Israel 20600

Our Website: www.lotem.net

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