Our guest this week is Rabbi Kalman Samuels of Jerusalem, Israel. Rabbi Samuels and his wife, Malki, have seven children, one of whom, Yossi, became deaf and blind after being administered a faulty vaccine at two. We’ll hear the remarkable story of how Yossi learned to communicate, to read, and how Kalman and Malki started Shalva, a seven story state-of-the art center on five acres in downtown Jerusalem, which serves as a beacon of hope, helping thousands of disabled children weekly, gain an ability to have a higher quality life.
We’ll also hear about Kalman’s book, “Dreams Never Dreamed: A Mother’s Promise That Transformed Her Son’s Breakthrough into a Beacon of Hope” available on Amazon. It’s an amazing story and one you’ll enjoy on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast.
SHALVA The Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities – https://www.shalva.org
Book – Dreams Never Dreamed: A Mother’s. Promise That Transformed Her Son’s Breakthrough into a Beacon of Hope – https://www.amazon.com/Dreams-Never-Dreamed-Transformed-Breakthrough-ebook/dp/B087NSLDG2
– The Story of Shalva – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN9JlwKIB_k&t=3s
– Ambassadors of Change – the Shalva Band At Google – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0JoqJcEe-Q
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Couch: Special thanks to Horizon Therapeutics for sponsoring the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. Working tirelessly to research, develop, and bring forward medicines for people living with rare and rheumatic diseases. Discover more about Horizon Therapeutics’ mission at horizontherapeutics.com.
Kalman Samuels: This was put to me by my sister when we first moved to New York. She was there for a conference, and she said to me something very simple. She said, “Sit down, kid brother. The problem is not with your son. The problem is with you. You’re still dreaming he’s going to be a ball player, he’s going to play sports. You’re still dreaming he’s going to be a rabbi.
“He’s not going to play sports, and he’s not going to be a rabbi. But you’ve got to change the yardstick, meaning you have to measure his successes with his yardstick, not with yours. So that if he does whatever it might be on a seemingly small scale, for him that might be more than winning the gold medal in the one hundred meters at the Olympics.”
Tom Couch: That’s our guest this week, Rabbi Kalman Samuels. Rabbi Samuels and his wife Malki have seven children, one of whom, Yossi, became deaf and blind after taking a faulty vaccine. We’ll hear the remarkable story of how Yossi learned to communicate, to read, and how Kalman and Malki started Shalva—a center that helps thousands of disabled children weekly—gain an ability to have a more quality life.
We’ll also hear about Kalman’s book, available on Amazon. It’s an amazing story and one you’ll enjoy, on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. Say hello now to host David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: Hi, and thanks for listening to the Dad to Dad Podcast, fathers mentoring fathers of children with special needs, presented by the Special Fathers Network.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs. Through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support dads. To find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re dad looking for help, or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com/groups and search dad to dad.
Tom Couch: So let’s listen to this fascinating conversation between Kalman Samuels and David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: I am thrilled to be talking today with Kalman Samuels of Jerusalem, Israel, the father of seven, an Orthodox rabbi, an author, and co-founder of Shalva, the Israel Association for Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.
Kalman, thank you for doing a podcast interview for the Special Fathers Network.
Kalman Samuels: Thank you so much. It’s my honor.
David Hirsch: You and your wife Malki have been married for 48 years and are the proud parents of seven children, Nekma, 46, Yossi, 45, Yakanan, 44, Avi, 42, Simko, 41, Schlomo, 39, and the couple’s blessing, Sarah, who is 23. At eleven months, Yossi was given a faulty DPT vaccination, and shortly thereafter, he was rendered blind, deaf and acutely hyperactive.
Let’s start with some background. Where did you grow up? Tell me something about your family.
Kalman Samuels: I grew up in Vancouver, Canada, in a non-religious family. I went to a very big high school. Then coming out of high school, I had actually a basketball scholarship to university and academic scholarships. I did a year of university at the University of British Columbia in philosophy and math. And I decided what I really wanted to be is a professor of Western civilization. So I set my goals in my undergraduate years accordingly.
After the first year, I was on my way to France to study, and my mother asked me to visit Israel for two weeks en route, so I did that. I’m not quite sure what happened in those two weeks, but I never made it to France. Not at that point, nor did I make it back to university. I just sort of got…I don’t want to use the word stuck, but my life changed, trying to figure out what it was about Israel that I couldn’t figure out.
So I went for six weeks. Then I went till the end of the summer. My father was very, very upset that I was taking time off university. But I decided, well, I’ll take a year and figure this out. And now it’s been something like 51 years and I’m still trying to figure it out.
David Hirsch: Oh, that’s fabulous. Thank you for sharing. So out of curiosity, what does your dad do for a living?
Kalman Samuels: My dad was a successful lawyer, and he had expectations of his son to be the same.
David Hirsch: And when you were growing up did you have any siblings?
Kalman Samuels: Yes. I have an older brother, five years older, Jeff, and a sister, three years older, Marilyn.
David Hirsch: Gotcha. And are they still back in Vancouver, or where are they?
Kalman Samuels: One of them followed my track and wound up in Israel, and my sister became a very well known psychologist in Canada. She has since retired, and she lives in Calgary, Alberta.
David Hirsch: Gotcha. Thank you. So when you think about your relationship with your dad, how would you describe it, and were there any important takeaways that you learned from him?
Kalman Samuels: You know, as a father myself, I have always taken my father’s lesson and tried to implement it, and it’s not easy. He did it magnificently. He was very concerned about my path—becoming religious, and then very religious, studying to be a rabbi, sitting in a series of studies that he couldn’t really appreciate.
And yet, he always gave me full dignity. I was his son, even if, as he said once, “The path in life that I cherished, you refused to go.” And he meant it very sincerely. And at the same time, he was there with me while I was studying, when I got married, when I was raising my children in a different way than I was raised, as a religious individual
When raising my kids—and I haven’t always succeeded—I sincerely believe the most important thing is to let my child know that he or she is loved, and it has nothing to do with the direction in life they will take. And I think that’s a takeoff on my father, who had his views, but was always there for his son.
David Hirsch: Yeah, well stated. I think we each have dreams for our sons and daughters. Our expectations may be as simple as what university they attend. And they want to go up in their own direction. I think we have to discipline ourselves to support them and what their vision is, what their future is, as opposed to our dreams or our vision for them. So thanks for sharing.
So I’m wondering what, if any, relationship your grandfathers played.
Kalman Samuels: My grandfathers were both immigrants to Canada at the turn of the century. I’m talking about 1906, 1907. One was from Russia, one was from Poland, and they were amazing people. They successfully made lives for themselves in Canada. They were in business, raised beautiful families, and I was very close to both of them.
And the closeness was without condition again. I just knew that my grandparents loved me. And it was no challenge in any way to be with them. And I think that was a critical thing that I felt always as a little boy, that I had a lot of love from my grandparents.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it’s a blessing if you have a chance to know your grandparents at all.
Kalman Samuels: You’re so right. My dear wife Malki never had grandparents. Her mother was a Holocaust survivor, and most of the people who were children of Holocaust survivors never knew their grandparents.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, I know that from my first hand experience. Three of my grandparents lived into their nineties, so I knew them not just as a young person, but as a young adult. They were in their nineties and I was in my late thirties when they each passed away. So they actually got to see and get to know their great-grandchildren, which was, I guess, a double blessing.
So from an education standpoint, you mentioned that you went to high school in Vancouver. You had a year of university at the University of British Columbia, and then you went to Israel, and you took a different path, which was to pursue rabbinical studies.
And I’m wondering, looking back on it, what was it that drew you in to rabbinical studies and the path you’ve chosen?
Kalman Samuels: Well, the first conversation I had towards the end of my two week stay was somebody introduced me to an Orthodox rabbi. And he said to me something that a professor of mine in university had said to all of us. The professor in university was a brilliant philosopher. In 1970, he mocked all the youngsters going to India at that time, saying that they are living in a vacuum. They don’t know their own culture, and therefore they don’t have a yardstick with which to assess another culture, especially an enormous culture like that of India. And he therefore said, “If you want to be able to understand other cultures in the world, first focus your undergraduate years on your culture, Western civilization.”
So that was my goal. I bought into that, because there were a lot of weird guys in those days running off to India. And when I met this rabbi in Israel, towards the end of my two week stay, he asked me what I was doing and where I was going. And I said, “Well, I’m leaving for France in two days.” He asked me what I was studying, and I explained to him Western civilization. And he said to me, “Why are you running to study someone else’s civilization when you don’t even know the roots of your own?”
So I said, “What do you mean? Of course I know.” I studied. I went to Sunday school, you know. So he asked me a number of questions, very politely, and I had no clue what he was talking about. He said, “You need to study your own culture.” And it hit me very strong, because I realized within the greater Western civilization—I’m Jewish—there are enormous amounts of roots and sources to study.
So I agreed to take six weeks there. It was a great summer program with guys from MIT and Harvard. And he sold me a whole bill of goods in terms of what kind of brilliant guys are going to be there. And they were older than me. But after six weeks I realized, “Hey, this is not a six week study. Maybe I’ll do it till the end of the summer and then move on.”
By the end of the summer I realized, “Hey, this is not a summer program. This is something more serious. Let me take a year. So I’ll take a year off. I’ll still have my scholarships in another year. My dad will be okay, and then I’ll pursue my other goals.”
By the end of that year, I had already become religious. I realized that if I wanted to be an academic, I really would like to do it in the world of Jewish studies of texts. And that led me to my rabbinical studies. So it was actually a professor at UBC that was the focus as to why I moved on.
David Hirsch: Yeah, it’s a lovely story. Thank you for sharing. And the image that I have in my mind is that this professor, the orthodox rabbi, set the hook, right, and didn’t pull really hard, but just kept reeling.
Kalman Samuels: I guess I was the kind of fish that took it very easily. I just bought into the bait.
David Hirsch: Well, it’s a remarkable journey that you’ve been on, so thanks for sharing. I’m sort of curious to know, how did you and Malki meet?
Kalman Samuels: Oh, Malki and I met in the traditional way of Orthodox Jews, that scares the hell out of non-Orthodox parents. And that is through an introduction. In Hebrew it’s called a Shidduch, a match. There’s so many stories like Fiddler, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” but in this case, someone introduced us and that was the beginning.
David Hirsch: Okay. So it was a little bit more of a formal process. That’s what I hear you saying.
Kalman Samuels: Yes. We didn’t meet in a bar.
David Hirsch: Okay. So let’s talk about special needs, first on a personal level and then beyond. And I’m sort of curious now, before Yossi’s situation, did you or Malki have any exposure to the world of special needs?
Kalman Samuels: Malki did. Malki was very close as a child. She used to go to centers and volunteer with kids with special needs. As she got older, even though she wasn’t trained yet, she had a part-time job working with a young lady with special needs.
My experience was less so. But as a young child, I grew up on the street with a girl who was probably five or six years older than I was. And from the time I was a little child, I remember my mother telling me to never, ever look at her other than to help her. And I learned early on from my mom how to work with these people. And I always helped Marilee with what she needed, and I loved doing it, and it made me feel good.
In high school I had a dear friend in my class who was deaf, and he was a bright guy. But I also learned that being deaf has nothing to do with your lack of ability to do things.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, the seeds were planted, if you will. Thanks for sharing. So what’s the backstory? What led to Yossi’s situation?
Kalman Samuels: Yossi was injured as an 11 month old child when Malki took him for a routine vaccination. Unbeknown to the public at that time, the Ministry of Health here in Israel was having a severe problem with batches of the DPT vaccine. And tragically, for almost six months, they didn’t put a stop to that vaccine.
And we will never know how many children were injured, but I would sincerely believe hundreds. Some of them lost their lives. Yossi became blind, and later deaf, and very hyperactive. And our young lives got flipped on their heads.
David Hirsch: So was it immediate, or was there a delay, once the vaccine was delivered?
Kalman Samuels: No. Malki was at the center at 2:00 PM. I came home at 7:15 after my day of studies. There were no phones in those days. We’re talking 1977. Malki was completely hysterical, saying, “There’s something very wrong! His eyes are shimmering. He’s not responding.” He was already 11 months. He was, you know, a little bit of a child. I saw the same things, but I said to her, “Well, let’s not get hysterical. You know, maybe he’s just got a bad cold,” and she insisted, “No, this is something very wrong.”
We called in our pediatrician. She came that night, and she too thought that maybe it’s a virus, a cold, et cetera. It took another number of days and another visit for her to realize that this was something more. Although we didn’t know what a convulsion was, we described movements that she did understand.
She sent us immediately the next day to a neurologist, and the neurologist saw Yossi with her assistant for five or six minutes, discussed things with us, and then in horror said to us, “Did this child recently have a DPT vaccine?” Malki said, “Yes, doctor. That’s when it began.”
There was nothing out there that we could ever have understood about this. There was no internet. Doctors were the next best thing to God, meaning that you just had a very, very deep trust. And I don’t say one shouldn’t have that trust, but in those days it was more or less absolute. And from that moment on, she didn’t speak to us. She went out of the room, and 15 minutes later she sent us down the hall to an optometrist.
He took very serious checks with his machinery and looked at Yossi for quite some time. Then instead of telling us what he saw, he wrote a long note back to her and said, “Please give this back to her.” And so from that moment on, we could not get any medical information clearly. The government had brought down that no one’s going to talk, and no one talked.
So we struggled for a year to understand what was going on. And things got much worse with his convulsions. My uncle was the head of orthopedics at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, and he said, “Come out to the States for a short while. I’ll put you in contact with some significant doctors who will talk to you and share whatever it is.” So we did that.
The first doctor we saw was a neuro-ophthalmologist, and he used the same little contraption the doctor in Israel used to look at his eyes with. The difference was when he put his machine on the side, he said, “I’m sorry to share, but your son’s optic nerve is atrophied, which means pale, and he will never see again.”
That was like finality, you know? Until then we had great hopes, but he dashed those hopes. The hearing set in a bit later, we didn’t know about it for quite some time, and ultimately by the age of, I would say two and a half, three, he was deaf.
David Hirsch: Wow. That must be like a ton of bricks. And if I’ve got a clear picture, you have an older child, you’ve got Yossi, you’ve moved to New York for an open-ended period of time, and then you have these tests done, and you get the load of bricks dumped on you.
And I’m wondering at that point, what were the fears that you and Malki had? What did life look like from that perspective?
Kalman Samuels: Life was extraordinarily challenging. Yossi was growing. Two, two and a half, three, he was into everything. You had to watch him so he wouldn’t hurt himself because he just was inquisitive. You had to watch him so he wouldn’t in some way hurt his older sister or his younger brother who was born. Malki had a full-time job, 24/7.
We realized we were going to stay in the States for a while. We were not running back to Israel at that moment. And we enrolled him in what was considered the best school for the blind in the country at the time in midtown Manhattan called the Lighthouse. And I entered the computer field, and life continued.
Our fears were quite simple: that we would never be able to talk to our son again. He had lost communication. He couldn’t see, and he couldn’t talk. There was no way other than giving him a hug or kissing him, that you could express anything to him.
David Hirsch: Wow. So you mentioned that you had another son after Yossi. Were the subsequent children born in New York, or what was the series of events?
Kalman Samuels: The first three were born in succession before we left Israel, and when we moved to the States, three more were born in four and a half years in the States. So that was the family. One girl, five boys, very rambunctious boys. And as you mentioned in the opening, 16 and a half years later, we were blessed with a beautiful little girl who is now 23.
David Hirsch: So you have bookends, the girls are the oldest and the youngest with the five boys in the middle?
Kalman Samuels: Correct.
David Hirsch: Okay. Well, that’s a lot of responsibility, coming from a father of five who has a sense for what that means. I don’t know if this is something you and Malki have discussed or reflected on, but what comes to mind is when there’s the two of you and one child, it’s two on one.
When there’s two of them and two of you, it’s man to man. And then when you get to three of them and only two of you, you’re in zone defense. And when there’s five, like we had, or seven, like you have, you get used to playing zone defense, because you don’t have any choices, right? You need to come up with an effective way to sort of manage that situation.
And I can only imagine what it would be like when one of the seven, in your case with Yossi number two, having some of the challenges he’s had.
Kalman Samuels: Let’s put it this way. I always describe it as having six, and one who’s worth ten.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. So not to focus on the negative, but just to be authentic, what would you say have been the biggest challenges as it relates to parenting?
Kalman Samuels: I would say the greatest challenge is coming to terms, taking the bull by the horns, and understanding that these are the problems my child is facing. This was put to me by my sister when we first moved to New York. She was there for a conference, and she said to me something very simple.
She said, “Sit down, kid brother. The problem is not with your son. The problem is with you. You’re still dreaming he’s going to be a ball player, he’s going to play sports. You’re still dreaming he’s going to be a rabbi. He’s not going to play sports and he’s not going to be a rabbi. But you’ve got to change the yardstick, meaning you have to measure his successes with his yardstick, not with yours. So if he does whatever it might be on a seemingly small scale, for him that might be more than winning the gold medal in the one hundred meters at the Olympics.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I burst out crying. I said, “You’re so right.” But between saying you’re so right and internalizing that and learning—not only for our child with disabilities, but each and every one of our children—to appreciate and measure them with whatever their yardstick might be, to use that yardstick. And I think that’s probably the greatest challenge in learning how to do that and actually doing that.
David Hirsch: Yeah, it’s one thing to understand it intellectually, but it’s another thing to internalize it and actually fully accept that from your heart. That’s what I hear you saying.
Kalman Samuels: Absolutely.
David Hirsch: Was there a turning point, beyond what you’ve just described, that helped put Yossi’s challenges, and the larger challenge of raising a growing family like that, into perspective?
Kalman Samuels: Well, there was a major change in our lives when we were back in Israel. At the age of eight, Yossi was attending a deaf school. And one extraordinary teacher of the deaf, who was deaf herself, put one of his palms on the table, and in the other palm, she spelled with symbols, Hebrew symbols, five letters.
And she did this for days on end, and at some point Yossi lit up. And she had the smarts to recognize that this was the moment that he got a breakthrough to communication—what we would call the Helen Keller moment. And we as parents had no clue what she was talking about. How could we possibly understand that this child who we couldn’t speak to for seven years or contact in any way, now Yossi somehow had a window on the world?
But she was right. And she taught him the rest of the Hebrew alphabet, and he began signing letters. She taught him words, and on the basis of her work, an extraordinary speech therapist decided she was going to teach him how to speak Hebrew. We actually didn’t believe a word about how in the world she going is to penetrate.
Over two years she did it, and he learned how to speak Hebrew synthetically. But you got used to his accent. And we all of a sudden had a son who could sign to us, you could sign back, and he could talk to us. So as a parent, I don’t think there was ever a bigger moment for us, coming from a situation where you’re lost with no hope, and all of a sudden it’s back to life.
David Hirsch: Wow, that’s amazing. Was the woman that you were referring to, Shoshana Winestock?
Kalman Samuels: She was, yes.
David Hirsch: I think of women like that, or individuals like that, as the angels that show up in our lives.
Kalman Samuels: No question about it. She showed up. She’s a dynamo. And not only that, when that was over, she sat us down and said she’s going to teach him how to write braille on a six key braille machine.
And his motor skills were a bit difficult. In the school they said, “Don’t even start.” But when school was off for the summer, and no one knew what she was doing, she taught him how to write braille—and he was just off to the races. She never stopped. She really was an educator of the finest order.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well thanks for sharing. Very inspiring.
So I’m sort of curious to know what impact Yossi’s situation has had on his siblings, your marriage, and then the extended family.
Kalman Samuels: Well, I think to Malki’s credit, it has only enhanced our marriage.
And to be quite honest, I think the mother has the most impact with her children. If she is fully accepting and loving and never thinking twice, it has impact on all the children. I think if parents are in any way hesitant about accepting their child with disabilities, it’s picked up immediately by the other siblings, and they will also be hesitant. They may well be embarrassed in public because mummy and daddy are a little bit embarrassed. I think such children will not grow up to be the emotionally stable kids we want them to be.
On the other hand, when mummy and daddy don’t care what others think, people may look, people may stare, because it’s a very new thing to a lot of people. But we know that this is our child, this is what God gave us, and we’re going to do everything we have to do to develop him or her to the best of their abilities—and this also is transferred to the other children.
And in our case, there was never a doubt, and our kids grew up as very proud brothers of Yossi. That was both when they were small and today when they’re adults. And I think that is the key to raising siblings of a child with a disability.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, from your lips to God’s ears, right? I think it’s sort of like the top down approach, or leader by example is what I hear you saying. If the parents get it right from the get-go, everything sort of flows out of that. And again, easier to say than do, but it’s a mindset. And I think you’re very fortunate to have come to that realization. Although you admitted it wasn’t right away, right? Your sister Marilyn banged you over the head, said, “Wake up, Kalman.”
Kalman Samuels: She actually said, “Wake up and smell the coffee.”
David Hirsch: And again, once you heard those words, it wasn’t immediate.
Kalman Samuels: It was many years of a process. And I would be not telling the truth if I were to say, “ Okay. Yeah, great. I got the message,” and everything was hunky dory.
I loved my child. But that had nothing to do with the understanding that there’s nothing I can do, and this is not my choice. I wasn’t consulted. And he turned out, as most kids of this nature turn out, to be just a gift to the family when the family’s set to receive that child.
People used to ask, “Why are your children so different?” on a positive note. And I said, “Because they’ve seen more in life as children, and they’ve seen what the real values of life are. They’re not fooled by all the fleeting things. They know what it’s all about.
David Hirsch: Yeah. That’s brilliant. So I’m thinking of supporting organizations. You already made reference to one back in New York City, the Lighthouse for the Blind, and I’m wondering if there’s any other organizations, before we talk about Shalva, that your family has benefited from, or Yossi has benefited from specifically?
Kalman Samuels: Well, in New York, Yossi outgrew the blind school and he went two years to something called…my goodness, I’ve forgotten the name, but the name of the neighborhood, but a wonderful school for the deaf. And they were very, very helpful. So we were there almost five years. We came back and we had the support of the School for the Deaf.
Later at the age of 13, he transferred to the School for the Blind. And all of these places did everything they could to empower Yossi in whatever way they could. And it was quite extraordinary.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank God for these programs or organizations that serve those who are deaf or blind, or have other disabilities for that matter.
I’m wondering what role spirituality has played in your lives.
Kalman Samuels: I think it’s played a very important role. I think from the get go Malki and I as religious people understood that this is a child that is ours. God did not make a mistake in address. It wasn’t intended for the next door neighbor. And that is something that we accepted.
How to cope with the fact that God gave us the child is something that’s, again, a process. And I think spirituality had an enormous amount to do with the fact that we understood that Yossi is a soul that came down to this earth at a given moment in time to a given family, and that he has his journey, whatever that journey might be, just as each of us has our journey, and our goal is to facilitate his role and his journey to the best of our ability.
David Hirsch: Yeah, well, if only that was more broadly known or understood, the world would be a completely different place. So let’s talk about Shalva, the Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, which is dedicated to providing transformative care for individuals with disabilities, empowering their families, and promoting social inclusion.
From my understanding, what we know today as Shalva, and how it began back in 1990 or maybe beyond 1990, are totally different. So what were the humble beginnings? What were the seeds that were planted that led to the creation of Shalva?
Kalman Samuels: We had a visitor, or better said, Malki had a visitor while we lived in New York. And this was a mature woman from Jerusalem who was there for personal reasons in Brooklyn. But she came to see poor Malki with her difficult situation. And in the course of that conversation—I was not there; I was at work—she said to Malki, “You know, Malki, it’s not fair for you to keep this child at home, when your husband is impacted, all your children are impacted.” And she suggested that she find an out-of-home setting for Yossi.
Malki cried that night and said, “God, I’m never taking Yossi out of the home. You gave him to me. But if you ever decide to help my Yossi, I’m going to dedicate my life to helping other mothers with their challenges with children of disabilities.”
Years passed, and back in Israel, when Yossi had his breakthrough to communication, to speech, Malki sat me down and said, “It’s payback time. I made a promise. God heard my prayer. I know exactly what I want to do, and I need your help.”
From that moment, it took a number of years, because with all her dreams and knowing how she wanted to help other people, I realized that without money, we just can’t rent a facility or do anything. So it took some time.
A friend of my father’s ultimately said, “You know what? Let me help your wife with her dream.” And we rented an apartment. I knew nothing about nonprofits, nothing about how they operate. I was in the computer field and I had to learn.
And we established Shalva, which is actually a word mentioned once in the entire Bible, in Psalms 122:7 where it says that, “May there be peace in your walls, shalva (or serenity) in your edifice.” So shalva means peace of mind or serenity, and that was our goal, to try and provide families with that ability to have a more quality life.
So in 1990 we rented an apartment, a garden apartment. We started with five kids, all with severe disabilities. Malki ran an afterschool program with one professional. I was at work. And the goal was to connect the school programs that the government paid for in the morning with the afterschool that we gave, where the children were bused home at 6:00 PM after a hot meal.
And that meant that we had critically changed the lives of those families. Because now mommy and daddy could work a full day, siblings could go to school and come home and do homework. And when that child with disability came home at 6:15 or 6:30, the family was ready and built to accept him with love. But it’s a fundamental change in how they lived.
Yossi was in the blind school every day till 6:00 PM. So while Yossi was the impetus of creating the program, it was not for Yossi. He never had to participate there. It was for other kids as payback.
David Hirsch: That’s still some very humble beginnings, starting with just a handful of families. And I’m wondering, how did it proceed? Was there a lot of demand from other families that propelled you to do something on a grander scale than just this small garden apartment that you started in?
Kalman Samuels: I like to say that if a person needs a proof that God has a very interesting sense of humor, all he has to see is our development. Thirty-one years, from five kids to a thousand today, right now. What happened was people banged on my door, they phoned me. “I have a son, I have a nephew. The family needs to be saved. You must take him into this program.”
And Malki, in the meantime, expanded programs from after school to overnight, once a week, every day of the week for families, to programs for new mothers in the morning, daycare programs, preschools. All these things were developed over the years, and the numbers kept growing.
So we went from one apartment to a second apartment next door, two of them, to building our own center in 1998, which was, we thought, enormous—18,000 square feet on seven floors. And then the government of Israel came to me in 2005 and said, “Look, we need to get not one but a hundred kids into your programs. You don’t have physical space. If we give you a large piece of land, would you build?” And I said, “No.”
And they then brought me down to see the land, and it was so outrageous. It was seven acres in the heart of the city, and Malki saw it as well. And we realized, although we had no idea how we could do this, it was an opportunity that would never be repeated. Who gives seven acres to a nonprofit in the middle of the city? It was very challenging land, large, almost like a mountain of dirt on it. But we said, “You know what? Let’s go for it. It’s not a crime to fail, but it’d be a crime not to at least try.”
And as I say, from nothing, over the next 10 years we wound up raising $70 million and building a 220,000 square foot center on 12 floors with some of the most beautiful facilities one can imagine.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, I know in reading about the story, the construction, the planning of it, it wasn’t a straight line.
Kalman Samuels: Not at all.
David Hirsch: Things always take more time and cost more money, and there’s always people who are going to be an opposition to what you do. And that wasn’t lost on me as you recalled the story in your book, about some of the challenges that ensued.
And if you were just to provide a brief overview to whet people’s appetite for what transpired, you have the opportunity to receive this seven acres. It’s like a blessing and a curse, right? There’s not enough money to do what could or should be done. So what were the steps? How did that story transpire?
Kalman Samuels: It started off with much smaller plans, and we thought the budget would be $18 million to build 60,000 square feet. We didn’t know that the mountain that was on our land was actually compacted rubble from the neighborhood above us, which some 60 years ago they dumped into the ravine. So there was no place to put down foundations or anything else.
Worse, there was an old hotel, not an old four-star hotel, but very large, right on the road above us. And we were shocked that they fought the gift of land from the city. And their reasons are still beyond me. Everyone said, “Nimby,” I don’t know what it was, but they fought us with very powerful people. They dragged us through 15 different courts, fighting that we should never be able to get our building permit.
They succeeded in delaying it for five years. And it got to the point where I was not sure I would ever be able to complete this building. But by hook or by crook, with God’s help, we got past that, and we were able to build the building. But it was something that I think put my own personal health at risk. It was extremely, extremely challenging.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Plus you had to raise some money along the way, didn’t you?
Kalman Samuels: Oh, absolutely. Because what we discovered is that if we want to build a building, we got to take away the mountain and build from the bottom up. And if we ever want to get to the top, we got to build many stories. So it turned out to be, as I say, an enormous 12-story building that is absolutely stunning, and that’s part of our goals.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Have you ever heard the word or phrase BHAG?
Kalman Samuels: No.
David Hirsch: BHAG is an acronym for Big Hairy Audacious Goal, and maybe you didn’t know it at the time.
Kalman Samuels: I’ve heard other words like megalomania, like a white elephant that’s never going to be needed. What can I tell you? Within a year or two after building the building and completing it in 2016, we didn’t have a place to put a needle.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well one of the other things that I remember was Malki’s attention to detail and her vision, which was to make this the most enlightened and open space with certain types of finishes, right? Certain types of colors. And there was a story, if I remember it, where there was a certain type of tile, and the tile didn’t exist. What was that about?
Kalman Samuels: The builders were moving forward very quickly, and Malki wanted a warm, soft, rustic, reddish tile in the whole building. She didn’t want blue, didn’t want green, didn’t want black, something soft and inviting. And with all her pursuits at major tile places here in Israel, she couldn’t find anything close.
Someone came along at a very interesting moment. There was tremendous pressure for her to make a decision, because she was going to start delaying the whole process. And a guy came out of nowhere and says, “Don’t buy. I can get you what you need in Italy.” So everyone mocked it. “If they don’t have it here, they don’t have it in Italy.”
Bottom line is two weeks later, Malki flew to Bologna in Italy, a difficult ride through Rome, and went to factories that were larger than football fields of tiles. This was like the center. And it turned out very quickly that they had everything in the world, but they didn’t have a rustic red. And this was two days of searching: the next factory, the next factory.
And finally the Italian guide was speaking to one of the owners of these factories. And he said to me in Italian, he says, “The lady is very dedicated. Tell her to come with me.” And she went and he introduced her to his designer and he told his designer in Italian, “Make this lady exactly what she wants.” He also said he’s never done this before for a private customer, but that was it.
So Malki sat and designed the tile she wanted with the head designer there, which was quite a process. But few weeks later she had her tile. So she didn’t give up, and actually didn’t have many opportunities to get it, but it wound up happening.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it’s another, testimony to Malki’s vision, her tenacity, the persistence that goes into all that. And it’s just such a heartwarming story. I have to meet this woman.
Let’s talk about your book. Dreams Never Dreamed: A Mother’s Promise That Transformed Her Son’s Breakthrough into a Beacon of Hope. It came out in English after it was done in Hebrew, in May of 2020. This did not take overnight to write. My recollection was that you were journaling over a long period of time. I’m wondering, what was the impetus, so many years later in life if you will, to actually put the story in writing?
Kalman Samuels: You’re absolutely right. This was written down as a journal. You know, I couldn’t bother Malki late at night with my concerns and worries, and I learned it’s great therapy to just write a journal. So I used to write my feelings down in real time. Over the years I also realized that I wanted very much to share the story.
Yossi begged me all the time. He wanted people to know he wasn’t born this way, he was injured. And it was very important to him that I tell his story, and it was important to me to put out the background to Shalva, because otherwise people view it maybe as a government facility or what have you.
And I ultimately did it. My father, before he died, made the request, “For God’s sake, write the book.” And it took many, many more years, but ultimately, somehow it got done.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well I loved reading it. I could not put the story down. I made a couple of notes in preparation for our conversation, and I’m wondering if you could react to the passages I’m going to share. This has to do with the importance of staying together, giving up on your own goals and dreams, realizing life has changed forever, and making new choices. Is that what you were referring to earlier when you were talking about the yardstick?
Kalman Samuels: I believe so. That’s all part of the process. And you know, if you don’t do that, you’re lost, because your life will continue with the challenges whether you like it or not. And the only question will be if you’re going to function or not. So some people run away from the problem, that’s one solution. But at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s the responsible one.
And it is a matter of realizing your own dreams, not only for the child. I had other dreams. I had dreams of being an academic in the rabbinical fields. And you know, I realized at some point that, hey, that’s not happening. And so you shift. Then I had an opportunity to go into the computer field, and I went into it.
But you make your choices. I was offered a wonderful, wonderful position, a rabbinical position outside of New York, and I was shocked how much these people would pay to have a rabbi. And I said to the person who told me, “It’s a wonderful opportunity—but it’s not for me. My son needs help here in New York, and I need a portable way of making a living, so if I ever move back to Israel, I’ll be able to transport it there.” It’s not to become a traveling salesman as a rabbi for one community and maybe another. So, yeah, absolutely.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing. There was a story in the book about Rabbiten, an older woman known in Orthodox Jerusalem, who came to visit. And there was this back and forth between Malki and this woman. Do you know what I’m referring to?
Kalman Samuels: Absolutely. It’s the front end to the story I told. Rabbiten in Hebrew means a woman who was like a rabbinical figure. She’s the wife of a very important rabbi. She’s very studious and very learned. This woman was probably 50 when Malki was maybe 24, 25 at the time. Malki knew her as a teacher as a youngster in Israel and had great respect for her.
And she was the woman that made the visit and told Malki she should think about getting the kid out of the house. And Malki, being Malki, said to her, “You know how much respect I have for you, but you do have a small problem.” She looked at her like, “What’s that?” She says, “You don’t believe in God.”
Now for this woman to hear that is like telling Bill Gates that he’s broke. You know? It’s like, what else does she have if not her faith? That’s what she was. And Malki says, “How can you say such a thing to me? Who exactly gave me this child? If you are a believer in God, where’d he come from? What should I cut off, which arm, which hand? He’s part of me.”
And the woman felt very badly, and basically got the message. They left on good terms. But it was that night that Malki had her thought of, “Hey, if you ever decide to help my Yossi, I’m going to do a lot for others.”
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well thanks for sharing. There was another character in the book, I think his name was Donnie Epstein, and I believe he was a chiropractor.
Kalman Samuels: That’s right.
David Hirsch: And a word that’s often associated with chiropracting is “quackery. “I don’t know if that was your characterization or whose, but I’m wondering if you can relate the story.
Kalman Samuels: My uncle was the head of orthopedic surgery at Maimonides. I grew up thinking that a chiropractor was exactly as you said, a quack. You cannot make changes to the body externally. If you have a problem, you’ve got to go operate. So I was raised that way. Not that it was spoken about a lot, but clearly, I knew that much.
We were in New York, Yossi’s gait was very awkward as a young child, he had a few problems walking, and his nose was stuffed closed from all his falls. And someone suggested to my wife, “You should try a chiropractor. And there’s this guy Danny Epstein in Brooklyn who is not that far from your house, he’s amazing. You have to go to him.”
So the next thing I know, Malki tells me on Thursday afternoon, “We’re going to see this guy”. And I said, specifically, “You’ve got to be nuts. I’m not going to a quack. You go yourself.” She says, “No, you’re coming with me.” So we went, and he was a fascinating guy, and he turned out to be a superstar in the field.
And the very first meeting, he did nothing invasive. He just touched Yossi, and we were shocked that Yossi loved every minute with him. He was sitting him on his lap while he touching the back of his cranium. And he explained to us all the different things, showing us the back, et cetera, et cetera.
We went to him once a week for some time. And after about six weeks, Malki yelled to me in the house, “Kalman come quick. What do you see?” And Yossi’s nose had completely cleared, and he was suddenly able to breathe through his nose. Now there was nothing else we could attach that to other than the fact that Donnie used to work a lot on that part of his face. That was one thing.
And the other thing was that Yossi became much more sedate, much quieter, between that and a healthy diet. The teacher at the blind school refused to believe that Yossi could have become more docile as a result of those things. But today I have utmost respect for the profession.
I once asked my aunt, “Auntie Edie, doesn’t Uncle Herschel see the changes in Yossi? How can he explain them, if not this chiropractor?” She says, “Kalman, I see them. But don’t ever expect your uncle, the orthopedic surgeon, to admit to it.”
David Hirsch: Well, there’s a reason that I love the story you were just telling. You’re going to have to fact check me on this, but there’s a lawyer here in the Chicago area. He’s 86 years old. His name is George McAndrews. He’s a neighbor, a friend, and a Bible study member as well.
And he is by profession an intellectual property attorney, so he is an engineer, and he practiced intellectual property for 40 years with a firm called McAndrews, Held & Malloy. So he was one of the three principal founders of this firm, which dates back 30 or 40 years.
And as a pro bono case representing chiropractors, he sued the American Medical Association because of the way they limited the chiropractors, right? And they actually had created within the American Medical Association—remember, you have to fact check me—the Committee on Quackery. That’s what the American Medical Association did, and they discredited the entire field of chiropractic.
It took him over a decade of legal proceedings. And the way he tells the story, it’s a David and Goliath story. He’s David, one attorney battling against this bank of attorneys from the most prestigious law firms here in the US. They’re representing the American Medical Association, and he’s representing the chiropractic association, which just couldn’t be any different.
And they won. David beats Goliath. It transformed the field of chiropracting. Sadly, though, there’s this perception years, decades, generations later, that chiropracting is still sort of quackery. There’s that association that still exists in people’s minds.
Kalman Samuels: I think it’s also a problem of overreach. In other words, I think chiropractic has its legitimate place and is an amazing tool. But I think even there sometimes the claims are made, that it’s the be-all to solve all. And just like areas of medicine are areas of medicine, they can’t solve all the problems, I think we also have to respect the fact that even in chiropractic, there’s a limitation. But I think that’s also part of the problem.
David Hirsch: Yep. I would agree. And it’s not a one size fits all solution. But there are legitimate aspects of chiropracting that some people benefit from and others don’t, right?
Kalman Samuels: No, for sure. Listen, I’m number one benefactor. I’m the first one to say amazing things, and I’m well aware of the battles you’re talking about, and it was indeed David against Goliath. And by the way, it’s changed in Israel as well, through our chiropractors practicing and working in hospitals, which was something that 25, 30 years ago would’ve been absolutely impossible.
David Hirsch: Yeah. So, let’s just talk about one more aspect of the book. We could talk for hours and hours. It’s just such a fascinating read. But one of the chapters is called “Parallel Lives,” and it has to do with the lawsuit over the faulty DPT vaccine, while Yossi was experiencing all these breakthroughs, the breaking out of the silence in the darkness. And I’m wondering if you can just summarize briefly what that legal battle experience was about.
Kalman Samuels: Way back, long before I established Shalva, I learned that there was something going on. We visited doctors in New York, and one of them asked the neurologist that we initially saw to send a report. He knew her.
And the report she sent came to my hands, of course, and it was full of lies. She had altered all kinds of milestones as a child that we had the original records of. She had said he sat up at a later stage and all kinds of things that would indicate that his problems were there from birth.
And I hit the roof. And I said, “This is not going to happen!” I began to investigate, and it just got worse and worse from there. And I was a busy guy. I had young children. I had a very big position in the computer world. I didn’t have a lot of time. There were no personal computers yet. Those came out some years later.
I just said, “Hey, this is not going to fly.” And I began to investigate. It got to the point where I had a lot of information. I met a young lawyer in Israel. I met him in New York. His name was Avi Fisher, and he was a brilliant gold medal winner a year before. And he told me he was going to see what this was all about and get to the bottom of it. He began doing his work in 1981, and in 1983 we brought a case against the government of Israel and the public health centers that gave the shots.
My goals were twofold. On the one hand, my son was not dead. My son needed a great deal of help in his life, and I wanted to see if I could secure some of that from those who injured him. And the other thing I wanted was to expose this scandal.
It went on for nine years. It was part of the scandal that it just never ended. It took everything out of Malki and me. And when we talk about parallel lives, on the one hand, we were caring for Yossi, which was overwhelming. And on the other hand, we were managing a legal case, because the law firms didn’t have a huge staff invested in this. I did a lot of the research, I did a lot of things with it. It went on for nine years, sadly. There’s no jury in Israel. It’s the British system of law with a single judge.
And he said that at the beginning of this, “I thought it was little people trying to bother the big establishment, but at this point in time I see it very differently.” And he said to the lawyers for the state and for the medical center there that he wanted to provide a settlement. And if they didn’t want to provide a settlement, he would feel free then to give his decision. They understood that he was serious, and after a lot of haggling and everything else, we took a decision. It was a moral victory. It was not what I had wanted.
But Malki put it best in focus. She says, “I have no problem with you going on and fighting it all the way to the Supreme Court, because they’re not going to accept it. It’ll just be another two or three years. I have no problem with you doing that, but just give me my divorce first.” Because she was finished. So that was the end of it all.
And the interesting thing was that the settlement came literally six weeks before we opened Shalva. So someone said to me like, “What are you going to do keep as busy as you were with this legal case?” I said, “You know what, I’ve got something new on the block, and I think I’ll be pretty busy.”
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well thanks for sharing. Listeners will have to read the book to get some more details, but it was an amazing journey.
One last thing before we wrap up. I learned about the Shalva Band, and my recollection was there was this wounded IDF veteran that approached you with this idea. And I’m wondering if you can briefly relate: what is the Shalva Band and why are they the ambassadors?
Kalman Samuels: In the year 2005, almost from day one, music was a very integral part of our programs, even if it was volunteers playing guitar. But just as it is with so many such programs, music is such an important component.
I had a music therapist working with the kids. This young man came by, and I saw he limped a little bit. He came into my little office, and he said he would like to work as a music therapist, and he’d establish a band. So I asked him to explain what he meant. He says, “You’ll establish a band, you’ll start picking out the kids, et cetera.”
So I saw there was something different. I said, “Shai, tell me a little bit about yourself.” So he explained that a year and a half earlier he was in the Israeli army, and he was injured by grenades thrown by terrorists. Much of his body had to be reconstructed, including his jaw, so he could learn how to speak.
I said, “Shai, how long is it going to take you?” He said, “A year.” I said, “Okay, let’s go for a year.” I wanted to give him an opportunity. So he went for a year and he picked out one kid and another kid who had a musical ability, young kids with Down syndrome, with other syndromes, and it began to be somewhat of a little band.
What we didn’t dream of was this thing was going to grow into what has become the foremost band in the world for people with disabilities. It’s called the Shalva Band. It has two blind young women soloists. It has a drummer who has something called William syndrome. As a result, the band has got a lot of publicity. Two young people who started the first group with Down syndrome, they’re still in the band, a guitarist and a keyboard player.
And the band got into a competition. Like “America has talent,” so “Israel has talent.” They wiped out the competition, and they went to the finals. The winner of this competition would represent Israel in what’s called Eurovision. Eurovision is the largest musical event in the world, 42 European countries, and there’s a viewing audience of over 200 million. So to be representing Israel would’ve been a huge thing.
They had to withdraw from the competition as finalists, because they learned from the Eurovision people that over and above their performing on Saturday night, they would have to have a full rehearsal on Friday night. Four of them are religious kids. They could not do that on what is known as the Sabbath. And they decided amongst themselves that we came in as a family, we’re going to leave as a family. And it was huge news in Israel that the Shalva Band was leaving. It was actually huge news everywhere in the English world as well.
And what happened is the Eurovision people then turned to us, to the promoters here, and said, “We would like the Shalva Band to appear as just artistic content.” So they did appear, and they did play in front of 200 million people at Eurovision. And they wowed the world. The BBC wrote tweeted immediately, “This is what it’s all about. This is the most fantastic thing.”
And since then they’ve gone on. They’ve played for the President, they’ve played on huge stages everywhere, and they’re bringing with them the message of inclusion and the fact that a person with disabilities doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have abilities. He may have a limitation, but that does not define him.
And in terms of that, they have become representatives of the World Health Organization for one of their initiatives to improve world health for people with disabilities. Two of the singers were their spokesmen, and we are consultants today to the United Nations. So things have happened beyond anything we could have imagined.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well thanks for sharing. I remember watching a YouTube video. It was a performance at Google.
Kalman Samuels: Yes. It was New York’s Google office. Just before they were invited, someone from the program saw that Google one hour program and said, “We have to invite this band to appear.”
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well there were some renditions of “Hotel California” and “Sounds of Silence” that brought tears to my eyes. It was just such a powerful experience. So, from your lips to God’s ears, I’m hoping they continue to enjoy the success that they’ve had and continue to transform people’s lives by demonstrating that they have abilities, even though most of the world would suggest they have disabilities.
Kalman Samuels: Absolutely. Let me just share one anecdote. One of the young men, one of the first people, he’s now 28, but he was a child when he started. And they had a huge outdoor performance, with like 9,000 people. And they put up a wall, like a metal fence, so people shouldn’t push onto the stage. And when this young man went off the stage—he had become very much a star and a face in Israel everybody knew—and the young people, 12, 13, 14, in this community, began screaming his name, “We want a selfie!”
And he said later, “How things have changed. Today they want my selfie, and not that long ago, they wanted me out of their sight.” And so the band is changing social consciousness among young people, and I think that’s wonderful.
David Hirsch: Yeah. I love it. It’s brilliant. Well, I wish we had more time, but we’re going to have to wrap things up. I’m wondering, briefly, beyond the advice you’ve already shared, if there’s any advice you can provide a dad, or young parents for that matter, who are raising a child with differences.
Kalman Samuels: If we’re talking about dads, I do have a piece of advice, very sensitive, but I think very powerful. As dads, we have to understand that we are functional in nature. Our wives gave birth to that child. It is a completely different emotional relationship for the mother as opposed to the father. And fathers, if they want to have a healthy family, must go the entire distance to support their wives. It’s not a 50-50 relationship, where it’s a tit for a tat. No, it’s a hundred percent without any expectations of return.
And if they do that, I am quite confident they will have very happy lives, because every typical wife will respond in kind. But at the outset, there shouldn’t be this reticence of, “Oh, I’m giving….” No, don’t think so much. Just give and give and give, and you will have a happier life.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you for making it sound so simple and straightforward. Why is it that you’ve agreed to be a mentor father as part of the Special Fathers Network?
Kalman Samuels: Because you asked me, and I think it’s very, very important, and I have great, great admiration for what you’re doing. I recognize the problems, and we have support systems here. Once a year I’m asked to provide a my own input to fathers. And over the years I’ve seen the enormous importance of being able to share with fathers and help them, because the challenges are challenges and nothing will change. But if our mindset is different and we understand more, then it’s less of a surprise and we can hopefully cope.
David Hirsch: Well, we’re thrilled to have you. Thank you for being part of the group. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up?
Kalman Samuels: Thank you and God bless you for all you’re doing.
David Hirsch: Well, thank you. Let’s give a special shout out to our mutual friend, Eliah Stromberg, founder of Fathers Connect there in Jerusalem, for making the introduction.
Kalman Samuels: Thank you so much. He’s an extraordinary human being.
David Hirsch: Let’s also give a special shout out to Doron Almog, retired major general in the Israel Defense Forces, founder of Aleh-Negev and Special Fathers Network podcast number 100 for his commitment to serving those with disabilities there in Southern Israel.
Kalman Samuels: Another amazing human being.
David Hirsch: If somebody wants to learn more about Shalva, your book Dreams Never Dreamed, or contact you, what’s the best way to do that?
Kalman Samuels: Simplest way is by email. email@example.com.
David Hirsch: We’ll be sure to include that in the show notes as well as links to the shalva.org website as well. Kalman, thank you for taking the time and many insights. As a reminder, Kalman is just one of the dads who’s part of the Special Fathers Network, a mentoring program for fathers raising a child with special needs. If you’d like to be a mentor father, or are seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation to your own, please go to 21st century dads.org.
Thank you for listening to the latest episode of the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. As you probably know, the 21st Century Dads Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, which means we need your help to keep our content free to all concern. Would you please consider making a tax deductible contribution? I would really appreciate your support.
Kalman, thanks again.
Kalman Samuels: I cannot thank you enough. It’s been an absolute pleasure. I’m interviewed by a lot of people, and you’re just the best. I can’t thank you enough.
David Hirsch: You’re too kind. Thanks again.
Kalman Samuels: God bless.
Tom Couch: And thank you for listening to the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs. Through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children match up with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support other dads. To find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help or would like to offer help, we would be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com/groups and search dad to dad. Lastly, we’re always looking to share interesting stories. If you’d like to share your story, or know of a compelling story, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast was produced by me, Tom Couch. Thanks again to Horizon Therapeutics, who believe that science and compassion must work together to transform lives. That’s why they work tirelessly to research, develop, and bring forward medicines for people living with rare and rheumatic diseases. Discover more about Horizon Therapeutics at horizontherapeutics.com.