By Abigail Klein Leichman - November 19, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

“Ben” smiles as he loads an industrial juicer with oranges at Harutzim bistro-café in Jerusalem’s Talpiot business district, run by SHEKEL-Community Services for People with Special Needs as a social business.

His smile broadens with pride when he hands me a glass of fresh-squeezed juice under the encouraging eye of training supervisor Noa Zwebner.

“When Ben started working here two years ago, he wore sunglasses and was very shy. He didn’t want to talk to anyone. We worked really hard with him to communicate along with teaching him how to make coffee and juice,” says Zwebner. “He’s now asking clients what kind of coffee and pastry they want. He’s taking initiative. He’s really made unbelievable progress.”

Social eateries across Israel aim to please palates while employing, training and rehabilitating people from disadvantaged populations such as teenage dropouts and disabled adults. Read More