With Friends Like These, Anything’s Possible!

Young man in a wheelchair with a volunteer in a parking lot בחור בכסא גלגלים עם מתנדב בחניון

ADI Jerusalem mourns the loss of Yoni Brand HY”D, a kindhearted and loving soul, who was killed in battle just 2 weeks ago. A resident of Jerusalem, Yoni was an active and beloved volunteer at ADI Jerusalem for many years, and the staff, residents, and special education students remember him fondly.

Here is a recap of a special outing with an ADI resident written by Yoni in 2013.


My name is Yoni Brand and I volunteer at ADI Jerusalem.  “My” resident is Tal.  Tal communicates with me through a special sign language that he made up himself.  Following a short introduction anyone can have a regular conversation with him and understand exactly what he wants to say.

For me, Tal is my friend.  Whenever I come to visit him we have a great time and we both look forward to the next time we can get together.

Two weeks ago I went with Tal and a few other volunteers for a two-day trip throughout Jerusalem.  For 2 full days we toured from morning to night, and we really got to see a lot of things.

We started our fun with a ride on the light rail to the Machane Yehuda marketplace, where we walked through the various shops and open stalls.  On the way we refreshed ourselves with a huge orange juice drink and a great lunch in a restaurant in the area.  We spent the afternoon in Gan Sacher, and then we went to see Jerusalem’s time elevator.  The video was fantastic and Tal absolutely loved it.  Dinner was pizza in the Central Bus Station and then we went home to sleep, excited for tomorrow’s fun.

The next day we took a bus to the Science Museum.  Tal loved the various exhibits and was very curious about everything he saw.  After lunch we went bowling in Talpiot.  We had a great time and Tal proved to be an excellent player.  He played independently and his playing skills were completely up to par.  Following dinner, we returned to ADI Jerusalem tired but very satisfied.

Throughout the trip it was easy to see how much Tal benefited from meeting new people and breaking from routine.  Wherever we went, Tal immediately connected with the people around him and began talking to them in his special sign language.  The museum guide, the train conductor, the market vendors – all of them became his friends instantly.  Throughout the trip Tal kept asking where would be the next stop.  It was obvious how much he loved going out and socializing with others, and how he looked forward to these kind of activities.

Thank you for all those who helped organize this special opportunity, all those who donated toward the trip, and all those who accompanied us.  It was a most memorable experience!

Below are additional pictures of Yoni HY”D with his friends from ADI.

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