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Israel government honors Keren Malki founders
Organization set up in wake of child's murder provides assistance to families of disabled children from all strands of Israeli society
Frimet and Arnold Roth created Keren Malki, the Malki Foundation, in 2001, some weeks after the murder in a Hamas terrorist attack of their daughter Malka Chana. Malki, as everyone called her, was fifteen.
Her death, along with those of fourteen others – most of them children – in the Sbarro pizza restaurant massacre in Jerusalem, galvanized her parents and a small group of friends to establish a living memorial to her life while connecting it to positive actions.
Now they have been honored for the work that Keren Malki ('keren' is the Hebrew word for foundation) has done over the past twelve years for the benefit of children with special needs and their families. Israel’s Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs, Meir Cohen, presented the Roths with the Minister’s Shield for Volunteerism – Lifetime Achievement Award.
Keren Malki’s executive director Debbie Fishman said today: “Like so many other Israeli families, Frimet and Arnold suffered a loss of the kind that turns your life upside down. In the wake of their tragedy, they transformed grief and pain into a conduit for giving and helping. They managed to complete the legal work of creating a new foundation within a month of Malki’s death. The date on Keren Malki’s certificate of establishment is September 11, 2001. The events of 9/11 happened later that same day. You could say the good work of helping families from every part of Israeli society is their response to terror.”
Frimet and Arnold Roth have guided Keren Malki’s work from the outset as unpaid volunteers. Arnold has served as honorary chair since 2001, while Frimet devotes time to reviewing applications for support. With a small professional team, Keren Malki delivers what the Roth’s call ‘empowerment’
Some 3,300 families from the Christian, Druze, Jewish, Moslem and other strands of Israeli society have benefited from Keren Malki’s three programs.
One provides home-care equipment on a long-term loan basis, in an active and growing partnership with the Yad Sarah Organization. A second gives part-funding for non-medical therapies: well over thirty thousand sessions (physical, occupational, speech, horse and hydro therapies) so far. And a third, called the Zlata Hersch Memorial Therapists on Wheels Program, sends therapists into the homes of special-needs children living in Israel’s most distant and under-resourced periphery communities.
Reflecting on today’s honor, Arnold Roth said: “Sometimes, the challenge of giving a special-needs child a chance at the best outcome means the child has to be put into institutional care. But in this country, there are tens of thousands of families like ours where the parents have a firm conviction that no one, no agency, no institutional facility, is going to do nearly as well as the parents and the family of the child with special needs. They don’t want institutional care for their child. They are ready, willing and - with some modest help – certainly able to do much better themselves. Our daughter Malki’s love for her own disabled little sister, and her devotion, led her to do incredible things in the short and beautiful life she had. There was nothing we could do for Malki after the terrorists stole her future from her and from us. Nothing, that is, except to remember and honor it by doing positive, helpful things in her name. Thanks to the support we get from generous people from all over, that is what Keren Malki is doing.”
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Keren Malki | Enabling quality care at home for children with severe special needs
Established in 2001, Keren Malki provides ongoing support for families in Israel caring for a severely disabled child. Its work is done via three programs: long-term lending of assistive equipment; funding of vital paramedical therapies; at-home therapist visits in periphery communities. Without Keren Malki’s involvement, many of these families may find themselves institutionalizing their child for lack of an alternative, with severely negative effects on both the child and the family. Keren Malki empowers families to take the alternative path, and care at home for a child with special needs. Keren Malki stands for the conviction that no one can do a better job of raising a special-needs child than the child’s own family. Those families need support, respect and financial assistance – which Keren Malki provides on a strictly non-political, non-sectarian basis.
• Frimet and Arnold Roth receive the award from Minister Meir Cohen [https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/
• Malka Chana Roth, 1985-2001 [https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/
Notes to editors:
To interview Frimet or Arnold Roth or for further information about Keren Malki’s work, please contact Debbie Fishman at Keren Malki – The Malki Foundation, phone +972-2-567-0602 (office hours in Israel), or +972-54-427-
More information about the work of Keren Malki can be found at our websites: www.malkifoundation.org and www.kerenmalki.org