Swim4Sadna Is Truly an Inspiring Journey
This story of one Jewish mother’s courageous mission to help others is indeed inspiring. It is about British-born Vivienne Glaser’s decision to help a special education center in need of money and resources. She decided that it was time to give something back to a school which has already given much to her own son, Elchie.
Swimming for Special Education
Swim4Sadna was started six years ago by Glaser to raise money for the center and school. This annual trek through the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) waters is made by women only. Monies raised through this fundraiser go directly to Sasnat Shiluv b’Emunah, the special education center and school based in Gevoat, Gush Etzion.
Glaser’s son, Elchie, still lives in one of the Sadna’s apartments for young adults with special needs. He takes part in daily vocational and employment programs.
The Observant Jew
Funds raised so far have led to the building of a coffee shop which sells goods made by students at Sadna. The next fundraising initiative is geared towards constructing an educational and therapeutic kitchen.
Vivienne Glaser grew frustrated at being excluded from swimming events held on the Shabbat. Her faith and compromise with Jewish patriarchy turned into a lifesaver. Through her initiative, Sadna children and young adults are also inspired to persist with their development and orientation into conventional society.
Glaser’s methods replicate Sadna’s ethos. A person is not defined by needs, but through the ability to give. This practical principle is integrated into daily learning, social interactions and work.
The center caters for children from the age of two. It is a haven for kids who remain helpless within the mainstream special education system.
If there’s one good thing that Israel is famous for it is their innovative ability to turn dry, arid land into fertile agricultural soil. Special needs children at Sadna are provided with training and employment opportunities in this vital sector.
Vivian Glaser and her Swimming Family
Among over 300 women that took part in this year’s swim was Vivian Glaser’s 80 year-old mother and daughters. Eight members of the extended Loecher family also took part.
Seventy year-old Chana Loecher hails from the Netherlands and moved to Israel from New York. She swam with three of her daughters and four of her granddaughters. Chana gushed at the religious symbolism of swimming in the Kinneret, choosing the metaphor of “swimming without boundaries” to sum up her thoughts.
God and Prayer
A committed fund raiser, Chana has already raised over one million dollars for various charities. Chana’s daughter recalls a spiritual moment. She relates her mother’s conversations with God about mountains and reciting the important Shir Hama’a lot prayer.
For the younger Loecher, this was nothing short of a divine experience. Glaser’s female relatives cannot stop correlating their euphoria with the results of their just cause.
While they empower themselves to swim, they empower the Sadna children to learning more about life and develop their independence.