HIT's Honorary Degrees

Mrs. Naomi Stuchiner

Naomi Stuchiner

HIT bestows an Honorary Degree upon Naomi Stuchiner, in recognition of the life-changing role she has played in founding Beit Issie Shapiro, and her tenacious efforts to empower people with disabilities, advocate for their rights, and share the knowledge reaped by the experience gained. She has dedicated herself to creating a socially-just environment across all sectors in which people with intellectual and physical disabilities in Israel can thrive and flourish.

Naomi Stuchiner’s commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities began during her formative years in her country of birth, South Africa. There, she grew up, married, earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Witwatersrand, all the while inspired by her late father Issie Shapiro who dedicated his life to this cause.

After immigrating to Israel and serving in various communal and mental health organizations, Naomi honored her late father’s memory by founding Beit Issie Shapiro, turning it into Israel’s foremost provider of innovative therapies and state-of-the-art services, impacting over 500,000 children and adults with disabilities across Israel and worldwide annually.

Under her four decades of leadership, Beit Issie Shapiro has become a transformative agent of social change in Israel, not only addressing the unmet needs of this underserved population, but also effecting sweeping attitudinal change for inclusion, passionate legal advocacy, and selfless sharing of knowledge that leads to replication of efforts and enhancement of programmatic impact not only locally, but on an global scale as well.

In the international arena, Stuchiner has steadfastly moved Beit Issie Shapiro toward an influential role in such organizations as the United Nations with Special Consultative Status on the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the World Health Organization, among just a few.

The notion that every person with disability is entitled to full equal rights is one that forms the bedrock upon which Beit Issie Shapiro has been built. This has been the driving force of Naomi Stuchiner’s tireless efforts to continually improve the quality of lives of people with disabilities, and for this, she has received the prestigious Israel Prize Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rappaport Award for Women Generating Change in Israeli Society and the Wind Annual Social Entrepreneurship Award.

HIT’s association with Beit Issie Shapiro and Naomi Stuchiner has been woven over the years, building on the value-education and commitment to social action which is part of the Institute’s inherent DNA. Every Purim, HIT partners with Beit Issie Shapiro in the “Costumes Come True’ project, where our students design the ‘costumes of their dreams’ for children who use wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility aids, consulting with their ‘clients’ and experimenting with the products over the course of weeks in order to come up with a design that accommodates their disability. Amidst screams of joy and excitement, HIT and Beit Issie Shapiro demonstrate their mutual conviction that all people deserve to enjoy the simplest of pleasures on an equal basis as those of their peers without disabilities.