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Spread the Word• Email this article to friends or colleagues• Share this article on Facebook or Twitter• Write about and link to this article on your blog• Local relevancy?Send this article to your local press She is one of about 40 Israeli singles who attend monthly events sponsored by Inbar, a four-year-old national organization that creates opportunities for social integration and skills development for marriage between adults with disabilities.It is also a play on the surname of Rabbi Shaul Inbari, 46, who was born with severe cerebral palsy and wrote a book on disabilities in Jewish law.Four years ago, he confided in his friend Shalomi Eldar — a community rabbi turned Intel computer programmer — that he despaired of spending the rest of his life coming home to an empty house.Haifa resident Liat Mansfeld, 37, is a social worker who counsels at-risk girls and teaches in Oranim College.Despite her impressive credentials, she has not found her soul mate through dating websites and matchmakers.Batya from Efrat also is 24 and attends college, despite mild CP and learning disabilities.
“The next morning, Shalomi’s phone started to ring, and it didn’t stop.” They advertised a meeting in someone’s accessible apartment.
“When there were 20 people inside and more outside who couldn’t fit in, they realized how many people were looking for something like this. Right “Most of our clients have physical disabilities ranging from mild CP to blindness to people in wheelchairs,” Groner says.
They began meeting every six weeks or so,” says Groner. Their wedding in summer 2012 was featured on Israeli television and was widely viewed on You Tube. “Some of our clients were born with a disability while others were injured in car accidents or terror attacks.
Six volunteer matchmakers make suggestions, but introductions generally go more smoothly if the couple meets in what Groner calls “almost a natural setting.” To illustrate the point, she relates that an Inbar matchmaker suggested to a man with CP that he might enjoy dating a blind woman on the list.
“He said ‘no,’ until he met her later at a singles event and took her number. They went out half a dozen times and it didn’t work out, but they’re on the playing field and that’s something they didn’t have before,” says Groner.“Because the group is heterogeneous in age and background it’s hard to find similarities, yet it’s complicated to meet people in other ways.