300 brave women swam across Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) last Friday, for the 6th Annual Swim4Sadna to raise money for the Sadnat-Shiluv center in Gush Etzion.
The Sadna is a ground-breaking educational program for young people with special needs and the funds raised will be used to build a kitchen where they can train and work.
Participants ranged in age from a 10-year-old girl to an 80-year-old woman, and included girls who have been training all year for the event.
Three students from the Sadna participated in the swim, including one who is almost completely blind. Another swimmer was a 14-year old girl who walks with crutches because of an injured foot, but was determined to complete the full 3.5 kilometer course, rather than the easier 1.5 kilometer route.
"I was uplifted by the energy and camaraderie of 300 women of all ages swimming for the same cause," first-time swimmer Nadia Levene said. "It was heart-warming to see the swimmers helping each other to make sure everyone reached the shore in one piece. I felt I could have swum the 3.5k route, but I plan to train hard and bring an even bigger team with me next year."
Another first-time swimmer, Eve Jacobs, only learned to swim a few years ago.
"Swin4Sadna was a life changing experience, not just because I have only been swimming for a few years and have never swum anywhere other than in a pool, but because of the energy of the incredible women swimming along with me – strangers supporting and encouraging me. I can't wait for next year!"
Event organizer Vivienne Glaser explained that apart from raising much-needed funds, the grueling swim was also meant to empower participants.
"This event is all about empowering women to fulfil their potential and believe in themselves, and at the same time empowering young adults in Israel with special needs to live a more fulfilling life.”