Long-time friend and supporter of ADI Jerusalem, Claude Kandiyoti, chose to celebrate his 50th birthday with the people who mean the most to him: family, close friends, and the residents and staff of ADI Jerusalem.
Accompanied by some 40 people, Claude toured the Jerusalem building and met with residents and staff, taking great pleasure in the center’s growth and development since his last, pre-Corona visit. Throughout the tour, Claude re-iterated his feeling that as he looked back on the past 50 years, he found that being a caring, giving individual stood out as the most significant aspect of his life. Continuing in this path, said Claude, is his deepest wish and blessing to his children.
Shlomit Grayevsky, CEO of ADI Jerusalem, thanked Claude for his friendship and support. Enumerating some of the projects backed by the Kandiyoti family and their Belgian friends over the past 20 years, Shlomit mentioned almost every corner of the center, including the Child Development Clinic, the physical therapy room, the Special Education School, the Vocational Workshop Program, the assisted living residential area, the Respiratory Program, the Young Adult Wing, the hydrotherapy pool, the community floor, COVID-19 emergency PPE and Gymboree corners.
Mrs. Sarah Katzin, mother of an ADI Jerusalem resident and representative of all ADI parents, spoke to the Kandiyoti family and guests, thanking them for their devoted, ongoing support and emphasizing how their thoughtfulness and care has made a difference in the lives of ADI children.
The most emotional speeches of the day came from two ADI residents. Requesting the microphone, Sara looked at Claude and voiced a very clear, two-word speech, saying “Thank you,” in perfect English. Overcome with emotion, Claude mentioned that none of the residents had ever thanked him, not because they did not want to, but because they could not. Sara’s speech, said Claude, meant the world to him.
Refael, a non-verbal resident, asked to speak to Claude via his eye-tracking system. Using his computer-controlled alternate communication program, Refael wished Claude a happy birthday and many more years, “until 120.”
After receiving a unique piece of artwork crafted by ADI residents as a birthday gift, Claude took the podium to say a few words. “I have a deep respect and a deep love for you, because this is all about the heart. It is all about the feelings,” said Claude. “It’s not about giving money. It is about being part of this. . . One of the first residents I met was Tal, and then each time I came, Tal would recognize me. That was the best present I could get.”
The special birthday event concluded with an inclusive darbuka show. All present took up drumsticks, and the joyous sounds of laughter and music could be heard throughout the building.
Happy Birthday, Claude.