Aboard the Asperger’s Birthright Bus, a Quirky ‘Mishpocha’

January 4, 2013,

Source: The Times of Israel 


Jessica Steinberg writes about the special Birthright 2012-2013 winter season Bus No.195 with 20 participants with Asperger’s Syndrome, now known as the “Mishpocha”, a project of Shorashim/KOACH, the college organization run by the Conservative Movement.

She writes:

"Gathering together a sizable group of young people with Asperger Syndrome was one of the ideas of the trip, said group leader Howard Blas, who has run similar Birthright trips in the past. Despite the high-functioning level of many of the Asperger’s participants, they often feel socially bereft back in their home settings; this was one place where they could experience a particular social bond….


The Birthright trip was much like any other, including camel rides and orange-picking, trying out Israeli snack foods, floating in the Dead Sea and jeep rides in the Golan Heights. But they also met with Israelis with Asperger’s at Shekel, an umbrella organization for Israelis with special needs. The two groups bonded over favorite television shows and the Birthrighters’ first tastes of peanut-flavored Bamba and chocolate-covered marshmallow Krembos, and there was comfort in the ingathering of fellow Asperger’s sufferers, agreed the Birthrighters.


Read the whole story at The Times of Israel.

Updated: Jan. 15, 2013