The Department for the Special Needs Population was set up within the Social Division of the Administration for Culture, Sports and Leisure Activities of the Jerusalem Municipality with the aim of furthering the matter of leisure time for special needs individuals in the areas of culture and sports.
Tzamid (special needs) population groups include the physically handicapped, the deaf, people with Down Syndrome, retarded people, the autistic, the blind, people with organic deficiencies, behavioral disorders, mental and emotional disorders, learning deficiencies, etc.
In Jerusalem alone, there are some 5,000 children and adolescents who have been defined as special needs people, as well as about 11,000 adults.
The "Tzamid Artists" Festival has been held for the last nine years upon the initiative of the Tzamid Department of the Administration for Culture, Sports and Leisure Activities of the Jerusalem Municipality. The aim is to provide the Tzamid (Special Needs) population all over the country with a worthy platform to display their skills and their activities to the public at large. Over 300 special needs artisans and artists from all over the country will be taking part in the festival, appearing in about 40 shows and events on stages and platforms all over Jerusalem. The Festival events are considered to be the peak events put on by the Tzamid Department at the Jerusalem Municipality that holds a great many events throughout the year in the fields of community, sports and cultural for the over 20,000 citizens of the capital who are defined as special needs people (handicapped, retarded, people suffering from mental disorders, visually and hearing impaired and others).
At the Festival's opening event held at the Jerusalem Theater on May 27 the prestigious Tzamid Prize for 2015 was awarded to Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. In his moving address, the Mayor praised the international activities of the Feuerstein Institute and portrayed himself as a disciple of the late Prof. Reuven Feuerstein in the matter of realizing human potential to its full.
The prize was awarded to Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein for his efforts in continuing his father's good works and for leading the Feuerstein Institute to the integration of special needs people in society.