“The crown of our heads fell, that’s how I felt, and that’s how I wanted to open up, to shout the impossible obituary we had on Friday, announcing the passing of our Nadra.” This is how Sigal Peretz Yahalomi, CEO of Akim Israel, opened the farewell meeting we held a few days after the death of Nadra Gentazi.
Nadra, the Other Theater star, lived in an Akim apartment in Tel Aviv and was a dear friend of Akim Israel. She was a well-known and beloved figure who entered the hearts of many people, with and without intellectual disabilities. Nadra, a native of Jaffa from a Muslim family, was a leader at heart and a pioneer, after waging a lengthy legal battle to replace her guardian, a struggle that ended successfully, and the appointment of a guardian on behalf of ALA (Akim Guardianship) of her choice. Issie Shapiro and represented her friends and Akim Israel at countless conferences and events in Israel and abroad, heard the voices of people with intellectual disabilities with courage and pride, and served as a model and inspiration to all.
Nadra’s sudden death, while she is only 49 years old, hit us all with astonishment and pain. Upon learning of her passing, we wanted to find a way to commemorate Nadra and her legacy at AKIM. The exciting and powerful farewell meeting and the things that her friends and other people said in her memory only strengthened the feeling that we need to find a way had to perpetuate her extraordinary personality. Indeed, this week, a special meeting of the association’s committee, chaired by Akim Israel’s chairman, Admiral Ret. Ami Ayalon convened to discuss Nadra’s commemoration.
As part of the meeting, it was decided to create a yearly Akim Award in the name of Nadra Gentazi. We will give the award during our annual Self Advocates conference to a person with disabilities who broke through. After all, Nadra was the first and foremost groundbreaking person. Farewell Nadra!