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and My Galia

The letters of Galia
can also spell out Gila,
which means joy!

My name is Shulamit. I am a senior teacher
working in the area of special education
with the Israeli Ministry of Education. I was
formerly a kindergarten teacher. I received a
B.A. at Bar Ilan University in Education and
Criminology and studied toward an M.A.
in Education at the School of Education at Hebrew University.

I was completely non-religious, totally alienated from anything
having to do with Torah and mitzvos (Torah's commandments)
I did a full tour of duty in the army, serving as a sergeant in the
teachers unit of the Southern Command. I am the mother of
three children  two grown
sons and Galia, who is now fifteen
and a half. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Galia was born
after two boys. I envisioned dressing her up in pretty dresses,
tying her hair in ponytails and ribbons, and going for enjoyable
and pleasant walks with her.

But my sweet dream came to an early end. Galia hardly de-
veloped. She remained a little baby. Today, at fifteen and a half
years of age, she functions mentally and physically like a baby of
four or five months old  in all respects. She cannot speak a sin-
gle word. She cannot stand up. She is still in diapers and eats
only baby food. And if that's not enough, she also has three con-
genital heart defects. Galia's diagnosis describes her as mentally
disabled, severely retarded and physically handicapped.


The Turnaround
These troubles came to light shortly after she was born, and I
felt overcome with the feeling that my life was ruined, its balance
lost. When I became Torah observant, 1 realized Baruch Hashem
that Galia was sent by Heaven to save me in this world and the
next. But until then I believed that having to look after Galia in
her state was no less than a terrible blow. Now I know that you
have to take all the knocks lovingly because they are just the
smacks of a loving father. Our Father in Heaven in His goodness
and mercy loves us, but sometimes strikes us, his beloved sons
and daughters, to wake us up, to make us open our eyes, and to
save us from the danger hovering above us. He is like a loving
mother who occasionally punishes her child in order to teach him
and to warn him to stay away from danger. The little boy does-
n't understand why. He has not yet developed the faculties for
understanding his situation.

The blow I got with the birth of Galia created a complete turn-
around in the way I thought. My life was totally reformatted in an
entirely new mode. My eyes opened up. The blow got me to start
thinking about what was going on around me. This would not
have occurred had not Galia come to the world in such a terrible

plight, so restricted and so helpless. That blow is what got me to
do teshuva (return to Judaism). The blow became the best present
I ever got in my life. Hashem in His great mercy and kindness gave
me this blow to open my eyes, to bring me out from the darkness
I was living in and to see all the pieces of the mixed-up puzzle
suddenly fitting together to form a complete and clear picture.
A picture of beautiful perfection.

A friend once told me that Galia's suffering in this world serves
no purpose and that her life here is completely superfluous. It
was clear to me that she said this due to a lack of understanding
and a spiritual and emotional insensitivity. It's obvious that every
soul is sent to our world by Heaven to fulfill an extremely impor-
tant mission  a specific mission that only it and no other soul
can fulfill.

Galia was sent to our world for the fulfillment of a grand mis-
sion. Galia brought her mother to do teshuva (return to Torah Judaism)
Because of Galia and the talks I give about her, and because of
my radio broadcasts, I feel that the teshuva movement here in
Israel has gained a great deal.

We live in a world of falsity. In Hebrew, "world"  olam 
can also mean "hidden." The world hides the truth. We have
been given a task to make an effort, to go to the trouble, to
search and reflect until the truth is discovered. In fact the truth is
never too far off. We just have to look, to stretch out our arms
and reach for it.

The Early Years
As soon as Galia was born, we had to look after her. Our time
was taken up by doctors, doctors and more doctors. We found
ourselves going from one to another  professors, department
heads, and consultants. Sometimes Galia would have convul-
sions and contractions and pass out. This required us to go with
her to the hospital by ambulance. This would be followed with
more treatments, hospitalization and more supervision. One

world-famous doctor told us that Galia was "an accident of na-
ture" and that after an accident, you just have to carry on.

We went through treatment after treatment, full of expecta-
tions and hope. Every day of the week was filled with therapy ses-
sions  physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech
therapy. Galia was subjected to constant treatments and follow-
ups in numerous outpatient clinics: the child development clinic,
the eye clinic, the ear clinic, the genetics department, the neu-
rology department, and the cardiovascular department.

Despite all the medical examinations, to this day the doctors
do not know how to explain what caused our Galia's awful con-
dition. They cannot point to the cause or identify the syndrome.
What is clear beyond all doubt is that Galia has serious brain in-
capacity. She has a one hundred percent disability and she will
remain in this pitiful plight all her life. Extraordinarily, all the
tests Galia went through showed sound results: chromosomes,
acids, reflexes, muscles  have all come up normal. Even the
CT brain scan was normal. Apart from Galia herself, everything
was normal!

The Endless Marathon
During the endless marathon of doctors and treatments, my
marriage went on the rocks and my husband and I got divorced.
The burden was more than I could bear. I decided, with no other
option and a broken heart, to stop pondering and place Galia in
a good home.

Now began a new marathon  the search for a suitable
home. In every home for the mentally incompetent and severely
handicapped I visited, I was dismayed to see the terrible neglect
of the premises and the horrible attitude toward the residents.
The very thought of removing my beloved little Galia  my
hopeless baby, my defenseless child  from the house was un-
bearable, all the more so if it would be to one of these homes.
My heart was torn to pieces and I cried tears of anguish.

One of the reasonable suggestions that came up was a nunnery
where the nuns devote their lives to looking after the unfortunate
and incapacitated. But despite the fact that I was very far from Ju-
daism, I couldn't reconcile myself to the idea that my daughter
would be living in a nunnery. The very thought made me shudder.

Fortunately, the solution was not long in coming. In Israel's
central area, the religious community had opened up a home for
children suffering from serious mental disability. The administra-
tors, caregivers, and staff gave us a warm welcome. People de-
voted to kindness looked after these poor children with supreme
commitment and respect. The institution was a magnificent ex-
ample of the best that Israeli society had to offer.

Galia was accepted to this wonderful home at the age of six
and a half. At last, I could start to sleep at night. I went to visit
her a great deal, carried on loving her as much as ever, and con-
tinued to tend to her needs as much as possible. Galia always radiated with happiness when I came to visit her. She would hug me and place her wizened arms around my neck with all her might. We would sit in silence, hugging each other  a mother
and her daughter sharing love without words.



                                                 next - My discovery of FC


Back cover, publisher information, letter to Galia, and Prayer,
Facilitated Communication - introductory background
My background and the early years
My discovery of Facilitated Communication
The very beginning of  Facilitated Communication with Galia
cont. the beginning FC communications with Galia
a sample from the communications with Galia


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